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E Ji 


VOL. I. 


Wm. H. ALLEN & CO. 

iooftfsellers to tfje f^onourafcle tf)e (JHast^nOta Compang, 








Printed by J. L. Cox & Sons, 
75, Great Queen Street. 






Under the protection of their Sovereign 
and Parliament, the East-India Company 
has been the instrument of acquiring those 
vast possessions, declared by the Act of 1833, 
to be Your Majesty's Indian Territories. 

That measure suggested the preparation of 
a Work which, divested of all commercial 
detail, would comprise within moderate 


limits, a narrative of the leading political 
events connected with the Rise and Progress 
of the British Power in India. 

Your Majesty having graciously conde- 
scended to countenance the attempt — the first 
Volume is now humbly submitted to Your 
Majesty. It records the names, with an out- 
line of the services, of some of those eminent 
men, whose advice in council and valour in 
the field laid the foundation of the British 
Empire in the East. 

The Second Volume will commence with 
the establishment of a System, which not only 
gave permanence and stability to the East- 
India Company, but enabled it to call 
forth the services of those illustrious States- 
men and Soldiers who raised the superstruc- 
ture of that Empire, which still remains under 
the government of the Company, and forms 
so stupendous and splendid a monument of 
national enterprize. 



Although the Company exercises no poli- 
tical power in this country, it has evinced on 
all occasions of national contest or internal 
commotion, an anxious desire to uphold the 
Sovereign Authority, and has manifested the 
most devoted attachment to Your Majesty's 
Royal House and Person. 

That the blessings of British Rule, may be 
long enjoyed and fully appreciated through- 
out every portion of the varied and widely 
extended dominions under Your Majesty's 
mild and paternal sway, is the prayer of 

Your Majesty's 

Most dutiful and 
Loyal Subject, 





1600 to 1741. Page 1—46. 

Early History of Hindostan. 

Native Powers. 

Settlement of the Portuguese. 

Rise of the Mahrattas. 

Establishment of the East-India Company. 

Petition against the formation of the London Company. 

Union of the two under designation, United East-India 

Early Settlements of the Company and other European Nations. 
Embassy from Calcutta to the Mogul at Delhi. 
Differences with the Nabob of Bengal. 
Early Instructions of the Directors to their Servants, and their 

Replies from India. 
Defensive measures inculcated, and offensive to be avoided. 


1746 to 1760. Page 47—76. 

Hostilities with the French on the Coast of Coromandel. 

Clive appointed a Writer, contemporary with Orme the Histo- 

Early Services of Clive under Lawrence. — He returns to 

Increase of the French power in India. 

Col. Clive appointed to Madras Council. — Proceeds via Bombay. 

Pirates subdued at Gheria. 

Cruelties of the Nabob at Calcutta. — Expedition thither under 
Clive and Watson — Calcutta retaken. — Council restored. 

Council remonstrate against Clive's powers. — His reasons for 
retaining them. — Defeats the Nabob. — Operations against 
the French. 

Chandernagore surrenders. 

Nabob Seraje-ud-Dowlah deposed, and Meer Jaffier proclaimed. 

Clive acts as President. — Court appoint him sole President. 

Hostilities with the Shazada, who retreats from Patna. 

Jaghire granted to Col. Clive. 

Clive embarks for Europe. —Arrives in England, and is thanked 
by the Directors. 


1760 to 1765. Page 77—118. 

Mr. Vansittart succeeds Clive. 

Jaffier Khan removed, and Cossim Ally Khan succeeds as 

Burdwan, Midnapore, and Chittagong acquired by Company. 
The Shazada again advances towards Company's Province? 

and is defeated. 
The Mogul murdered ; the Shazada succeeds. 


Dewanny declined. 

Differences with the Nabob on account of Inland Trade, &c. 

Massacre at Patna. — Cossim deposed. — Meer Jaffier again 

placed on the Musnud. 
The Mogul and Vizier offer aid to the Company. 
President's view of affairs. 
The Mogul and Vizier hostile to the Company. 
Major Munro takes the field. 
Overtures from Mogul and Vizier rejected. — Latter defeated, 

flees to Allahabad. 
The Mogul Shah Alum joins Munro's army. — Treaty with the 

Operations of the Vizier. — Death of Jaffier Ally Khan. — 

Nazim-ood-Dowlah succeeds. 
Mr. Spencer succeeds Mr. Vansittart. 
French on the Coromandel Coast. 

Masulipatam taken by Major Forde. — Various other Operations. 
Pondicherry surrenders. 
Hyder appears in the field in rebellion against the King of 

Madura surrenders. 
Northern Circars. 

Mahratta Powers and Bombay. — Hyder in hostility with them. 
Hyder's successful operations on the Malabar Coast. 
Council at Madras desire peace with him. 


1765 to 1768. Page 119-206. 

Lord Clive appointed President and Commander-in-chief in 

Bengal. — Proceedings connected with that measure Arrival 

in India. 


Differences with his Council, as to Presents, &c. 

Proceeds up the country, and concludes a Treaty with the 

Vizier and Nabob. 
The Dewanny granted to the Company. — Court's Views 

Opposition to Lord Clive. — His Lordship's views. — Intended 

return to England. — Requested by the Court to remain. 
Political relations. 

Servants called by Lord Clive from Madras. 
Lord Clive proceeds up the country. 
Military Fund founded by Lord Clive. 
Military combination subdued. 
Congress at Chupra. 

Lord Clive returns to the Presidency. — Contemplated Mea- 
sures against Mahrattas. 
Abolition of the Inland Trade. 
Lord Clive returns to Europe. — Testimony of Council to his 

Shah Abdallah.— Sentiments of the King and Vizier towards 

the Company. 
Mr. Verelst succeeds as Governor. 
Mission to Nepaul fails. 
Proposition for obtaining Cuttack to form a chain of Company's 

Court's desire to promote happiness of Natives. — Views as to 

Orissa, and caution regarding Alliances with Indian Powers. 
French Influence. 
Review of the Powers in Hindostan. — The Mogul, Vizier, 

Rohillas, Jauts, Seiks. 
Conduct of the Vizier suspicious. — Deputation to him. — Court's 

views thereon. 
Differences with the French. 
Mogul determines to proceed to Delhi. 
Mr. Cartier succeeds to the Government. 
Mahrattas, their hostile demonstrations. 



1765 to 1769. Page 207—267. 

Northern Circars. — Sunnuds obtained for them from the Mogul. 

Differences between the Nabob of the Carnatic and Nizam. 

Bengal Council propose a Treaty with the Nizam, which is 
concluded. — Court's Remarks thereon. 

Hyder's conduct leads to Hostilities with him. 

The Nizam vacillates : is disposed to join Hyder, who enters 
the Carnatic. 

Operations against Hyder, and Court's views thereon. 

Treaty with the Nizam. — Condemned by the Court. 

Fruitless Negotiations with Hyder. — Embarrassments of Ma- 
dras Council, who are forced to make a Treaty with Hyder 
at the gates of Fort St. George. 

Connexion of Company with the Nabob of the Carnatic. 

Court's views on Treaty with Hyder. 

Circars taken under Company's management. 

Zemindarry and Government Lands described. 

Litigious Proceedings of the Grand Jury at Madras. 

Operations against Hyder by the Bombay Council. 

1769 to 1773. Page 268—335. 

Proceedings in Parliament following the grant of the Dewanny. 

Regulation of Ballot and Dividend. 

Supervisors nominated by Company. 

His Majesty's Government propose to arm the King's Naval 
Officer with Powers as Plenipotentiary. — Differences thereon. 
— Sir John Lindsay appointed to command King's ships. 

Supervisors lost on their passage out. 

Court's Orders as to a Revenue System. — Separation of Ju- 
dicial and Revenue powers. 


Mahrattas take Delhi, — Project of the king to join them j his 

Majesty resolves on that step. 
Hyder urges Company to join him against the Mahrattas, who 

enter Mysore. 
The Nabob of the Carnatic desires to join the Mahrattas. — Sir 

John Lindsay interferes. — Representation from Madras on his 

proceedings, and an appeal to the King from the Court. 
Sir Eyre Coote's powers disputed by the Council at Madras: 

that officer returns to England. 
Embarrassments of the Council regarding Hyder and Tanjore. 
Court's views thereon. 

Rajah of Tanjore proceeds against some Polygars. 
Sir Robert Harland reaches Madras as successor to Sir John 

Lindsay. — He supports the Nabob against the Company's 

views in his wish to form a treaty with the Mahrattas. 
Differences between Sir Robert Harland and the Council. 
Company's relations with the Nabob of the Carnatic and Raj all 

of Tanjore. 
Sir Robert Fletcher succeeds General Smith in command of 

Madras Army. — Circumstances lead to his pleading his 

privilege as a Member of Parliament; is sent home. 
State of the Carnatic. — Mahrattas defeat Hyder, who makes 

large conquests on the Malabar coast. 
Operations against Broach. — Transactions at Poonah. 


1772 to 1774. Page 336—412. 

Embarrassment of the Company's Finances. 

Parliamentary Committees appointed. 

Parliament prohibit the appointment of another Commission of 

Mr. Warren Hastings succeeds as President in Bengal. — His 

early services.— Mahomed Reza Cawn. — Revenue Arrange- 


ments. — Duplicity of Nundcomar. — Incursions of the Mah- 

Council determine to include Corah within the line of defensive 
operations. — Differences with Sir Robert Barker, the com- 
mander of the Forces; his Statement, and Mr. Hastings' 

Treaty with the Vizier. — Differences on that measure. 

Vizier contemplates operations against Rohillas. — Applies to 
the Council to aid him, which is ultimately agreed to ; the 
Troops cross the Caramnassa and defeat Rohillas. 


1772 to 1774. Page 413—439. 

Revenue and Judicial System. 

Letter from the Teshoo Lama to the Governor-General. 

1774 to 1775. Page 440—504. 

The Parliamentary Inquiry terminates in the Regulating Act. 

A Governor-General and four Councillors nominated ; 
Mr. Hastings to be Governor-General. 

A Supreme Court of Judicature authorized. 

Court's instructions to Bengal. 

Differences in Council under the New Government. — Revenue 

System.— Rohilla War — Mr. Hastings' Correspondence 

Resident at Lucknow. — Instructions to Commanding Officer 
with the Vizier. — Mr. Hastings defends his conduct. — 
Court's views. 

Nundcomar prefers accusation against Mr. Hastings. 


Nundcomar tried and executed for forgery. 
Differences in Council. — Mr. Hastings accused of correspon- 
dence with a proscribed native chief. 
Affairs of Oude. 
Court's views. 


1774 to 1779. Page 505—571. 

Expedition from Bombay against Salsette. — Death of Commo- 
dore Watson. 

Supreme Government call for Reports from Madras and Bom- 
bay, which Reports are forthwith made of affairs under 
those presidencies. 

Treaty with Ragobah by Bombay Government disapproved in 

Col. Upton appointed to Poonah from Bengal. — Mr. Hastings 
differs with majority. 

Mr. "Wynch removed from Madras.— Lord Pigot appointed 

Lord Pigot arrested by majority of the Council. 

Admiral Sir Edward Hughes differs with Council. 

Bengal Government support the majority at Madras. 

New Revenue Settlement in Bengal. — Differences between Mr. 
Hastings, General Clavering, and Mr. Francis. 

Court's views as to letting Lands. — They condemn conduct of 
Governor-General . 

Supposed resignation of Mr. Hastings. — Proceedings in Eng- 
land and in India in consequence. He disavows the act. 

Death of Sir John Clavering. — Sir EyreCoote appointed Com- 

Supreme Council resolve on supporting Ragobah, and detach a 
Force to Bombay. — Goddard's march and operations. 

Salt Monopoly resumed by Governor-General. — Chittagong. — 
The Muggs. — Major Rennell. — Cochin-China. 



1779 to 1784. Page 572—647. 

Proceedings in Parliament. — Difference between Lord North, 
Mr. Fox, and Mr. Burke, on the Company's Affairs. 

Embarrassed position of the Madras presidency. 

Sir Thomas Rumbold resigns, and Mr. Whitehill succeeds — 
both dismissed the service. 

Lord Macartney appointed Governor of Madras. 

Hostile disposition of Hyder and the Nizam. — Hyder over- 
runs the Carnatic. 

Sir Eyre Coote sent down from Bengal to oppose Hyder. 

Acts passed to remedy defects of Supreme Court at Calcutta, 
and for an Agreement with the Company for one year. 

Sir Elijah Impey appointed Judge of the Sudder Dewanny 

Carnatic and Mahratta War. 

Affair of the Governor- General at Benares with Cheyte Sing. 

Differences in Council. 

Mr. Hastings appoints Major Scott his political agent in 

The Governor-General and the Vizier meet at Chunar. 

Intrigues of the Nabob of Arcot against Lord Macartney : 
his attempt to ruin Mr. Haliburton. 

Parliamentary Reports from a Committee appointed to inquire 
into the Carnatic War, and Sir Elijah Impey 's appoint- 

Resolutions founded on the Reports, including the recall of Mr. 
Hastings. — Proceedings of the Courts of Directors and Pro- 
prietors thereon. 

Naval Engagements off Madras. — Peace with Mahrattas. 

Efforts to relieve the Carnatic. 

Mr. Hastings addresses the Court — complains of reflections 
made on him. 
VOL. I. b 


Death of Hyder. — Tippoo succeeds. 

Protracted Hostilities. 

Sir Eyre Coote, who had returned to Calcutta on account of his 
health, offers to proceed again to Madras ; embarks, is chased 
by the French, lands at Fort St. George : his decease. 

Negociations with Tippoo finally concluded by Treaty of Man- 

Further Letters from Mr. Hastings in justification of his con- 


1783 to 1784. Page 648—675. 

Ministerial Changes in England. 

Mr. Dundas's India Bill brought forward and rejected. 

Mr. Fox's India Bill, supported by Mr. Burke ; its purport ; 
Discussions thereon; its rejection by the Lords. — King's 
Letters to Mr. Pitt, who brings forward a Bill which is 
rejected by the Commons; after further proceedings Par- 
liament is dissolved. 


1784 to 1785. Page 676 to 699- 

Supreme Council animadvert upon the Proceedings of the 
Madras Government, and contemplate Suspension of Lord 

Directors' views on Mr. Hastings's conduct as to Cheyte Sing — 
applaud the aid given by Governor- General to Madras. 

Mr. Hastings proceeds to Lucknow. — Disapproves Treaty with 
Tippoo, and sends orders to the Madras Government, which 
are disobeyed by casting vote of Lord Macartney. 


Directors appointed Lord Macartney to succeed as Governor- 
General : apprehending that the Supreme Government may 
have suspended him, they confirm his appointment. 

Mr. Hastings' description of the Mogul's son, whom he met at 
Lucknow. — His opinions as to Oude. — His intended De- 

Mr. Shore on the Alienated Lands. — He returns to England. 

A new Revenue Settlement for one year. 

Mahratta Power extended. 

Committee of Revision on Public Establishments. 

Mr. Hastings delivers up the Keys of the Fort and Treasury. — 
Embarks on the Berrington, and sails on the 8th February. 

General Remarks on his position when in India. 

Mr. Hastings arrives in England ; is thanked by the Court. 

His Impeachment. 

The East- India Company grant him an Annuity of £4,000. 

His Evidence before Parliament in 1813. — The House of Com- 
mons rise on his withdrawing. 

His attachment to the Company, and his Letter immediately 
preceding his Death. 

Mr. Burke's animosity to him. 

His Statue placed in the India House. 

Concluding Remarks. 



WHiLEpreparing,intheyear 1825, the 'Analysis 
of the Constitution of the East-India Company,' 
I experienced the want of a work treating pro- 
gressively of the political events that had occurred 
in India, with a statement of the laws passed by 
Parliament for the government of the Company's 
affairs ; together with the views and opinions of 
the Home Authorities on the proceedings of their 
servants abroad. 

There were numerous publications, referring to 
detached portions of India affairs. The History 
of British India by the late James Mill, Esq., was 
the first attempt to compass in one work the 
various subjects comprised in so extensive a field. 
It presents an instance of indefatigable perse- 
verance, and exhibits the peculiar views of the 
gifted and lamented author. It is matter of 
regret — a regret of which I know that gentleman 



himself partook — that he had not an opportunity, 
when writing his history, which terminates in 
1805, of consulting the documents that sub- 
sequently came under his official cognizance and 

In the course of my researches, amidst the 
voluminous records at the India-House, l^made 
various memoranda, with the intention when leisure 
offered of preparing a work in the present form. 
The pressure of business preparatory to the dis- 
cussion on the Charter in 1833, and the arrange- 
ments consequent on the passing of the Act, in 
order to give effect to its provisions, which did not 
come into operation until April 1834, completely 
occupied the attention of the whole establishment. 

The effects of the extraordinary change caused 
by the abandonment of all commercial operations, 
were felt in the great diminution of those duties, 
that had partaken of the combined character, 
heretofore sustained by the Company. Extensive 
reductions necessarily followed, some departments 
being wholly abolished, others partially reduced, 
and the entire establishment brought down to a 
scale that would ensure the largest saving, and 
at the same time provide for perfect efficiency. 



These circumstances led to my assistant* pro- 
posing, under a sense of public duty, his retirement 
at the close of the year 1834. The same motive 
impelled me to propose my own retirement, with 
a view to a consolidation of offices, in December 

I actyert to these circumstances because an im- 
pression has arisen in connexion with the reduc- 
tions alluded to, that the idea thrown out in the 
original Hints submitted by his Majesty's Ministers 
in February 1833, for reducing the number of the 
Directors, might have been acted upon with advan- 
tage to the public interests. The idea was wisely 
abandoned. There is no necessary connexion be- 
tween the number of the Court of Directors, and 
the strength of the Home establishment. Were it 
possible, which it most certainly is not, that half 
the present number of officers and clerks could 
discharge the duties which now fall upon them, 
still the twenty-four Directors ought to be invio- 
lably maintained : that number being based upon 
a principle which should never be lost sight of; 


* William Carter, Esq., a most honourable public servant. 
His retirement, as well as my own, was accompanied by that of 
some old and valued servants in the department. 


while the strength of the establishment ought 
to be governed by the extent of duties it has to 
perform. The present number of the Executive 
Body is essential to its independence, and forms a 
security against the successful exertion of political 
or other influence operating to the prejudice of 
the great interests committed to its care. * 

An objection has been taken to the choice of so 
many Directors from gentlemen who have served 
in India, because they may have imbibed strong 
local prejudices. If the term local prejudice implies 
that those Directors have a feeling of attachment 
towards India and its population, it presents a 
recommendation ; the real difficulty is in removing 
prejudice against and in creating an interest in 
matters relating to that country. 

If the term be used as implying narrowness of 
views, caused by supposed confinement to local 
duties in a distant part of the world, why should 
an effect be produced on minds engaged in India 
in forming revenue settlements or fixing the 
bounds of a province — in administering justice 
amidst millions, or discharging the duties of a 
political Residency — in filling the office of a 
Member of Council, or that of Vice-President, — 



or in taking a distinguished part as companions 
in arms with those illustrious individuals whose 
names are recorded in the history of their country, 
more than in that of parties who may be occupied 
in England in the settlement of tithes or parish 
rates, in fixing the limits of a turnpike trust, or 
discussing the merits of a railroad-bill ? 

Some reason might exist for the term, were all 
the members who have served in India to be 
chosen exclusively from one presidency, and from 
one particular branch of the service ; but, so far 
from this being the fact, selections are made from 
all the three presidencies, and from every branch of 
the public service. Nor is the choice confined to 
gentlemen only who have been in the service ; 
the election has fallen on parties who have resided 
in India, but wholly unconnected with the service.* 

If any objection still remains, its force is neutra- 

* A recent instance presents itself in the case of the Right 
Hon. Cutlar Fergusson, who was a member of the Bar at 
Calcutta, and was chosen a Director, on his return to this 
country, by the united suffrage of the Proprietors. That 
gentleman retired from the Direction, much to the regret of all 
parties, on re-assuming office with His Majesty's Ministers. The 
late Sir Hugh Inglis, Bart., had been in India, but not in the 
Company's service. The present Director, Sir Robert Camp- 
bell, Bart., is another instance. 


lized by the introduction of gentlemen of high cha- 
racter possessing extensive mercantile and finan- 
cial experience, having had no connexion with 
India. This is an advantage which offers addi- 
tional reason for maintaining the present number, 
and for continuing a system that secures the 
various qualifications now brought to bear in 
deciding questions of great public as well as of 
personal interest. 

Nor can any idea be more erroneous than that the 
duties devolved upon the Court since the Act of 
1833 do not present sufficient matter to engage 
the attention of so many members. With the ex- 
ception of questions which involve great constitu- 
tional changes in the establishments of the United 
Kingdom, those which come under the review 
of the co-ordinate authorities forming the Home 
system, for governing India, are of a more extended, 
varied, and complicated nature than any that 
generally occupy the attention of Parliament. 
Twenty-four Directors were not considered too 
many when the Company had commercial affairs 
only, and those of a very limited extent, to transact; 
neither was that number thought excessive when 
the Company possessed only one-third of the ter- 


ritory, of the army, and of the population, now 
under their control and government. 

The office of a Director of the East-India Com- 
pany presents one of the most honourable and 
interesting positions in public life, and offers 
matter to engage the highest range of talent and 
the best powers of the mind, in a widely extended 
sphere of duty, comprising political, military, re- 
venue, judicial, financial, legislative, ecclesiasti- 
cal, and commercial subjects, not confined within 
narrow limits, where one decision will apply to 
the country at large, but calling for separate 
measures in distinct provinces, and different laws 
for a varying population in habits, manners, and 

The office is not one of pecuniary reward, but 
it is one which yields its possessor the means of 
an honourable provision for his family connexions 
and friends, with the enviable gratification of being 
enabled to confer obligations in quarters where 
educated and exemplary heads of large and 
amiable families have to contend with limited 
funds, and whose habits have precluded them 
from forming connexions to advance their families 
in the world. The children of the veteran soldier 








with honourable laurels, but scanty means — the 
widow's son and the destitute orphan, have partici- 
pated in that patronage which, but for the mainte- 
nance of the Court of Directors, might have been 
applied to the most unconstitutional purposes, and 
certainly would never have reached those channels 
where it has been so philanthropically bestowed. 
The fact was admitted by Parliament during the 
discussions on the Charter, and I speak from per- 
sonal knowledge of numerous instances of the most 
kind and generous acts of individual patronage.* 


* In the year 1774, the following curious petition was 
presented to the Directors : 

" To the Honourable Court of Directors, 
" Gentlemen : — I am a clergyman of Ely, in the county of 
Cambridge. I have a parcel of fine boys, but not cash to pro- 
vide for them. My eldest son I intended for a pillar of the 
Church, and "with this view I gave him a suitable education at 
school, and afterwards entered him at Cambridge, where he 
has resided the usual time, and last Christmas took his degrees 
with some reputation to himself. But I must at the same time 
add that he is more likely to kick a church down than to sup- 
port one : he is of a very eccentric genius. He has no notion 
of restraint to Chapel-gates, Lectures, &c. &c, and when re- 
buked by his master, tutors, &c, for want of obedience to their 
rules, &c, he treated them in the most contemptible light, as if 
not being gentlemen, and seemed to intimate that he should 
call them to account as an affair of honour, &c. This soon dis- 
concerted all my plans for him, and on talking with him the 



Although the subject will be noticed when the 
present system comes under review at the close of 
the Second Volume of this work, I cannot refrain 
from adverting to one clause of the Act of the 
3d and 4th William IV. cap. 85, which has imme- 

other day, asking him what road his honour would choose to 
pursue in future life, he told me his plan was to go into the 
India service. Upon being interrogated whether he had any 
reasonable expectation of a provision from that quarter, he 
looked small and said no. Now, gentlemen, I know no more of 
you than you do of me, and therefore it is not unlikely but that 
you will look upon me as chimerical a man as my son, in 
making this application to you : but you will remember that he 
is my son, and that reflection, I hope, will be deemed a suffi- 
cient apology. I want your advice, now ; therefore not knowing 
any individual amongst you, I apply to you as a body. If he 
will suit your service and you can help me, do. He is now 
about twenty, near six feet high, well made, stout and very 
active, and as bold and intrepid as a lion. He is of a Welch 
extraction for many generations, and I think as my first-born 
he is not degenerated. If you like to look at him you shall see 
him and judge for yourselves; you may leave word with your 
clerk. I shall call again shortly to hear what you say, and am 
in the mean time, 

" Gentlemen, 
" Black Bull Inn, « Yours, &c. in haste, 

«< Bishopsgate Street, (Signed) " Thomas Jones." 

f« 3d March 1774." 

" N.B. If you like him I will equip him, &c." 

One of the Members of the Direction gave the young man a 


diate reference to the civil patronage of the Com- 
pany. I do not believe that it has yet been acted 
upon. Before the plan devised by the Marquis 
of Wellesley in 1800, for the establishment of the 
Calcutta College, there was no test required from 
parties previously to their being appointed Writers. 
They simply produced a certificate that they had 
been educated in writing and accounts, and were 
desirous "of serving their Honours.*' The same 
kind of petition was presented by Mr. Hastings, 
by Mr. Shore (afterwards Lord Teignmouth), by 
the late Charles Grant, Esq., by Sir George Bar- 
low, by the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, 
and by distinguished members of the service 
who, after filling high posts in the governments 
abroad, are now devoting their valuable experi- 
ence to the same objects at home, in their places 
as Directors. Whatever may have been the 
demands of the public service, it must be ad- 
mitted that fit instruments were found to meet 
those demands. 

The plan of Lord Wellesley was superseded by 
the establishment of the East-India College in 
this country, in the year 1805. By the Act of 
1813, each party, before his nomination as a 



Writer, was required to pass four terms at the 

That institution, and the regulations for its 
government, have afforded matter for repeated 
discussions, in the Court of Proprietors and else- 

In the year 1826, the East-India College was 
not adequate to supply the wants of the public 
service. The Act of 7 Geo. IV. was accordingly 
passed, which admitted of the nomination of par- 
ties as Writers who should pass a given test before 
four examiners, two being appointed for that pur- 
pose by each of the Universities of Oxford and 
Cambridge ; the ages of the candidates not to 
exceed that prescribed by the Acts of 1784 and 
1793,| viz* twenty- two years. 

The wants that called for the remedy having 
been supplied, the Act expired, and the exclusive 
system of passing through the College was reverted 
to ; but to render it more palatable, and to give the 
service of India all the benefit of general educa- 
tion elsewhere, it was declared sufficient for a 
party to have resided either one or two terms, 


* 53 Geo. III., cap. 155, sec. 46. 
f 33 Geo. III., cap. 52, sec. 60. 


instead of four, provided he passed the final 
examination. Some instances of valuable instru- 
ments, who had come from the Universities, being 
appointed under the revised plan, have lately- 

With these facts upon record, it is difficult to 
imagine what can have led to the introduction of the 
103d section, cap. 85, in the Act of the 3d and 4th 
of His present Majesty; unless indeed its object 
was to render the civil patronage as little grateful 
to the nominating parties as possible, if so, it will 
be most effectually attained whenever the scheme 
shall come into operation. The general outline 
of the Ministerial plan of 1833 was the result of a 
comprehensive and enlightened view of the vast 
subject then brought forward ; but many of the 
details were framed in haste, and apparently 
without due consideration of the effects that would 
follow their adoption. 

The age of each of the candidates to fill one 
vacant nomination to the College is not to exceed 
twenty-two years; but the Acts of 1784 and 1793 
provide that no party shall be appointed a writer 
whose age exceeds twenty-two years. Residence 
therefore at the College, under the new Act, is 



out of the question for a party of the extreme 
age admitted by that Act. At all events, there 
is a discrepancy that requires correction. Again, 
the period of one month only is allowed to a 
Director to find out four candidates, and this is 
to be done in the months of July and August, a 
period of the year of all others the least likely for 
candidates to be found, and if they are not pro- 
duced the nomination falls to the Board ! The 
remotest idea of imputing any sinister intention 
when the plan was devised is utterly disclaimed, 
but the result is clear : for supposing thirty vacan- 
cies, the Directors in one month must be pre- 
pared with 120 youths, who are ready to risque 
their academic reputation for thirty problematical 

To avoid this, the Directors may send up ninety 
youths who may happen to be at home for the 
holidays from some of the seminaries in the coun- 
try, to compete with thirty comparative veterans, 
and the Act would be complied with, while the 
real intention would be entirely defeated. 

The plan prescribed by the Act is unattainable 
in principle, and would be open to intrigue and 
injustice when put in practice. A proper test and 

vol. i. c public 


public examination seems all that is really requisite 
to ensure well qualified servants. 

As the governing body in the India system, the 
Directors have the origination of principle. This 
is a most important point. Their acts, it is true, 
are subject to revision by the Board of Commis- 
sioners, but the Directors possess the means of 
making the public judges of those acts through 
the medium of the Court of Proprietors, should 
extreme measures or differences of opinion render 
such a proceeding expedient. If the powers both 
of the executive and constituent bodies are more 
circumscribed by the late Act, they are still of a 
character to be applied with much force and 

If the past experience of their government be 
taken as an earnest for the future, there is ample 
warrant to anticipate the most beneficial results. 
The testimony of that great man (whose ser- 
vices will be hereafter noticed), when speaking 
of the Company's government, not from mere 
report but from long personal experience; at a 
time when the Company had the honour to num- 
ber him amongst their servants, and who in that 
capacity set an example of the strictest subordi- 


nation, when the policy of a measure was opposed 
to his own conviction ; — who exhibited entire 
devotion to the public service, when personal 
interest would have decided otherwise; — who 
evinced a foresight as extraordinary in plan- 
ning and devising measures and operations, 
as promptitude, energy, and success in carry- 
ing them into execution ; — who laid down a 
system for the management and conduct of 
the various branches of the public service, 
which simplified the most complicated and 
important matters, whilst the most minute and 
apparently unimportant were not forgotten ; — 
who observed an extraordinary regularity in his 
public accounts, amidst unceasing engagements, 
requiring continued exertion both of body and 
mind ; — and whose acquaintance with the general 
affairs and political relations of the Company was 
not less conspicuous than his military achieve- 
ments, — this eminently competent eye-witness 
declared, from what he saw at the time, and 
from what he had since seen, that it was one of 
the best and most purely administered govern- 
ments, and one which had provided most effec- 

c 2 tually 


tually for the happiness of the people over which 
it was placed.* 

Another gentleman then in office at the India 
Board, and now filling a high station in the 
Council of India, declared his astonishment at 
discovering the effects of a government and a 
system of which he had formed a very different 
opinion, f 

One of the leading characteristics in the 
government of the East-India Company is free- 
dom from party or political feeling : it is desired 
to observe the same spirit in this work. After 
all, the subject is so vast, that scarcely any 
one work can give more than a brief connected 
detail. To aid the attention in taking a glance 
at the history of India, from the commencement 
of hostilities with the French in 1745, the subse- 
quent period may be divided into ten decades. 


* Parliamentary Debates, July 1835. In the reference I 
have here made to the Duke of Wellington's services, I have 
strictly confined myself to those rendered in India. They 
formed a true presage of his Grace's subsequent illustrious 

f Debate in the Commons on the second reading of the India 
Bill, 11th of July 1833. 


At the beginning of each, or within a very short 

time, some marked event took place : 

1745-6. The commencement of hostilities with 
the French on the coast of Coromandel.* 

1755-6. The affair of the Black-hole, and the expe- 
dition to Calcutta under Clive and Watson. + 

1765. The acquisition of the Dewanny.J 

1774. The Regulating Act; a Governor-general 
appointed, and a Supreme Court of Judicature 

created .§ 

1784. The establishment of the Board of Com- 

1793. The renewal of the Charter ; the Board of 
Commissioners placed upon a permanent foot- 
ing, with salaries to the President and Com- 

1804. The termination of the Marquis Wellesley's 
brilliant administration, including the fall of 
Seringapatam, the expulsion of the French, 
and the subjugation of the Mahrattas. 

1814. The renewal of the Charter; the opening 
of the India trade ; the introduction of an 
Episcopal establishment ; the commence- 

* Page 47. + Page 54. 

X Page 146. § Page 442. 


ment of the Marquis Hastings' administration, 
and Nipaul war. 

1824. The Burmese war. 

1834. The East-India Company relinquish com- 
mercial operations ; surrender all their pro- 
perty to the Crown, and retain the govern- 
ment of India. The abolition of suttee, and 
termination of Lord William Bentinck's ad- 

I have purposely introduced, in the first chapter, 
some extracts to show the state of the Company's 
early political relations. It must be remembered, 
that until the late great change, the East-India 
Company possessed no other pecuniary means 
than what they derived from the combined result 
of their territorial and commercial receipts. In 
the course of the national contests in which 
Great Britain was involved, the Company were 
frequently much embarrassed. They obtained 
at times unwilling aid from Parliament, at the in- 
stance of the Minister who disputed their claims 
to reimbursement for outlay on account of his 
Majesty's Government, when the national exche- 
quer was severely pressed, and the Company's 



exigencies most felt, there being no demand, 
either at home or abroad, for the produce in 
their warehouses. 

These were the reasons why the Directors con- 
tended for the maintenance of the Company's 
exclusive privileges in all their integrity. Had 
concessions been made, they felt that there was 
no limit at which to stop, their sole dependence 
being on their own resources. India, including the 
Home Establishment, with that of the Board of 
Commissioners for the Affairs of India, has never 
been a direct charge on England. Hence the 
orders to the governments abroad were sometimes 
couched in terms grating to minds unaccustomed 
to the tediousness of detail and formal minutiae of 
a peaceful administration, "formed on a commer- 
cial basis." 

The First Volume of this work refers to the early 
period of Indian history, and of the Company's 
establishment. It comprises the administration of 
Lord Clive, with the intermediate governments in 
Bengal and at Madras and Bombay, and closes 
with that of Mr. Hastings. Most of what relates 
to Lord Clive's government had been prepared 
from the official documents before the life of his 



Lordship was published. I mention this, because I 
am gratified to find that my views are generally 
supported by those of the gallant and regretted 
author of that work. 

The Second Volume will open with the Esta- 
blishment of the Board of Commissioners for the 
Affairs of India ; a measure which preserved the 
Company's political existence, and tended to 
check, and gradually to eradicate the evils that 
had arisen from the want of power on the part 
of the Executive Body to enforce obedience to 
their orders. 

The important proceedings of the India Govern- 
ment, which gave effect to the revisions contem- 
plated by the Act of 1784, will be gradually 
developed. The principles by which the Supreme 
Council were guided will be traced out, together 
with the course of splendid achievements which 
marked the progress of the British power, under 
the several eminent personages who presided in 
the respective governments. The result exhibits 
the extraordinary fact that the Company, whose 
representatives hesitated at one time to address a 
Nabob of one of the provinces, now hold the Great 
Mogul himself as a pensioner upon those revenues, 



which through their instrumentality have become 
the property of the British crown.* An Outline 
of the Indian System as it exists under the 
altered character of the Company, will likewise 
be given. 

The scheme of his Majesty's Ministers was ex- 
plained and supported in an able and luminous 
exposition by the President of the Board, in Fe- 
bruary 1833.| The Proprietors closed with the 
proposition, and accepted the revenues of India 
as security for their capital, and payment of 
the dividend, on condition that the Company 
retained the government. Of the competency of 
India to sustain all the just demands upon her 
exchequer, no doubt is entertained : "a country 
with an increasing revenue of twenty-two millions, 
a territory almost unlimited in extent, a soil rich 
and fertile, and suited to every kind of produce, 


* A map of India is prefixed, in order to show the posses- 
sions acquired by the Company at the close of Mr. Hastings' 
government in 1784, as also the native states which existed as 
substantive powers at that time. 

The Second Volume will contain a map prepared upon a 
similar principle, brought down to the present time ; also a map 
exhibiting the routes of Steam Navigation with India. 

t The Right Hon. Chas. Grant, now Lord Glenelg. 


with a people capable of great improvement, and 
both frugal and industrious." 

But the Proprietors must not forget that capital 
and skill are the means, and judgment and 
energy the qualifications essential to apply those 
means in the mode best calculated to ensure the 
anticipated benefits. 

No endeavour should be omitted to awaken an 
interest in a country, which has doubtless been 
brought under British dominion for higher ends 
than mere pecuniary advantage, although instances 
of the benefits derived in that point of view 
may be traced throughout the United Kingdom : 
for there is scarcely a county without resident 
families who owe, either remotely or immediately, 
their fortune, or pecuniary means, to the establish- 
ment of the East-India Company, and the acqui- 
sition of India. 

If this work, which is almost wholly founded 
on official records, shall in any degree answer the 
purpose, one of the objects I have had in encoun- 
tering the labour of preparing it for publication 
will be attained. It may likewise prove an useful 
introduction to more extended researches by indi- 
viduals who shall hereafter enter the Company's 



service, or to those who may resort to India for 
other purposes. 

As the attempt has been graciously counte- 
nanced by the Sovereign, I feel that I shall but 
manifest the respect which I bear towards the 
Company, by announcing to the Proprietors indi- 
vidually the progress of a work, the first volume 
of which is now sent forth to the public. 

London, April 1837. 


'u,i,,i„,ih ii'"// ///■„> ■■/'■/.,,. /,„/,.!// . u,:.-/ .i;.i '-A./,';.;. 




In contemplating the History of India, abundant Early history. 
matter to awaken, if not to satisfy curiosity, as to 
its earliest condition and chronology, is to be found 
in the works of those distinguished scholars and 
historians, who have presented the public with 
their valuable researches on the various kingdoms 
of Asia. 

Confining the retrospect to the limits within 
which reference can be had to historical facts, it 
is impossible not to be most forcibly struck with 
the extraordinary vicissitudes and revolutions to 
which Hindostan has been subject. Governed for 
a series of years by a Maharajah, or prince who 
exercised supreme authority, and by various feu- 
datory but powerful native chiefs ; having a priest- 

vol. i. b hood 


hood assuming a lofty tone of morality, possessing 
great influence over the people, and acting as 
counsellors to their rulers, the Hindoo power, 
notwithstanding the early invasion of Alexander,* 
Mahomedan remained comparatively secure until the irruption 
irruption. f t k e Moslems, whose troops were led to the ter- 
ritories on the Indus within the third century after 
the rise of that scourge of the human race, the 
followers of the prophet, whose flight from Mecca, 
a.d. 622, gives date to the Hijrah. In thirty-one 
years from that period, besides Arabia, the king- 
doms of Persia, Egypt, and Syria, were subjugated 
by their arms, and in the year 673 they entered the 
country beyond the Oxus. 

The five great princes, who are represented to 
have united their forces against the earliest inva- 

* « I take it for granted, that Alexander crossed the Indus 
(about 327 years before Christ, according to Usher, and in the 
month of May), at or near the place where the city of Attock 
now stands : because, first, it appears to have been, in all ages, 
the pass on the Indus leading from the countries of Cabul and 
Candahar into India ; and this is strongly indicated by the cir- 
cumstance of Acbar's building the fortress of Attock to com- 
mand it. Mr. Fraser, in his history of Nadir Shah, says, ' there 
is but one place where an army can conveniently be transported, 
the stream being so rapid in most parts. There is a castle com- 
manding that passage, called the castle of Attock.' Attock, 
then, must stand on or near the site of the Taxila of Alexander. 
Taxila must necessarily have been very near the Indus, to allow 
of its being one hundred and twenty miles from the Hydaspes, 
or Chelum. See Pliny's Indian Itinerary, book vi." — Major 
RennelVs Memoir of Hindostan. 


sions of Hindostan by the Mahomedans, were those 
of Lahore, Delhi, Ajmere, Kanouje, and Callinjer, 
all included in Northern Hindostan. 

The more southern part was full of impregnable 
hills and castles, which were tenanted by the daring 
race of Rajpoots. The multitude of these forts, 
built on lofty and almost perpendicular eminences 
of rock or mountain, so common in India, affords 
sufficient evidence of the distractions which, in 
ancient periods, prevailed amidst the endless con- 
tests of ambitious chieftains. 

In the tenth century, three lines of Mahomedan 
princes arose, whose successors established them- 
selves in Hindostan. 

The first was that of the Gaznavides, so called 
from Gazna, the capital of a province in the neigh- r^nes of ivia- 
bourhoodofCandahar. They continued from about princes. 
a.d. 1000 to 1157, when they were expelled from 
their Indian conquests by the Gaurides, from Gaur, 
a province to the north of Gazna. The Charaz- 
mians, from Charazm, the capital of their kingdom, 
succeeded a.d. 1212 ; and they were defeated by 
Genghis Khan in 1221. 

During the whole of the Gaznavian dynasty, as 
well as the dynasties of Gaur and Charazm, India 
boasted no supreme head. The dignity of Maha- 
rajah had become merely nominal. He might take 
the field, and was reverenced as chief; but he 
possessed no decisive power to control the different 
factions that had arisen and convulsed the country, 

b 2 the 


LCHAr. I. 

Deccan in- 

Timour's con- 
quest of Delhi. 

the provinces having been partitioned among the 
superior line of rajahs who headed or ruled over 
them. The unsatiated invaders from the western 
frontiers, as long as their tyranny lasted, were the 
lords paramount of India. The tribute was regu- 
larly transmitted to Gazna, or Gaur, by such of 
the Indian chieftains as desired peace, numerous 
armies of Afghauns being ready to pour down 
upon any who might manifest resistance. 

The Deccan, or Southern Peninsula, remained 
in quiet subjection to its ancient chiefs of Indian 
descent until 1293, when it was first invaded by 
Alla-ud-Deen, the Mahomedan governor of Kurrah, 
a country bordering on the Deccan, near Ellich- 

At the close of the fourteenth century, the cele- 
brated Timour " planted the Tartarian standard on 
the imperial towers of Delhi." On returning to 
his own country, he committed the government of 
his new conquests to two viceroys, Pir Mahommed 
and Chizer Khan. The latter contested success- 
fully for the sceptre. The Tartar government 
having become odious, both to the Mahomedan 
chiefs and native princes of India, they emanci- 
pated themselves from its yoke in 1493, about 
which period the Usbecks invaded Great Bokhara, 
and constrained Baber, the descendant of Timour, 
to abdicate the throne of Tartary and seek refuge 
at Gazna. In this retirement he contemplated 
the invasion of Northern Hindostan and the con- 


quest of Delhi. The Afghauns and the great rajahs 
of the country opposed his progress, but his valour 
and perseverance overcame every obstacle, and on 
the 1st May 1526, Baber, a fugitive from his own 
country, ascended the Mogul throne, one hundred Emptor 
and thirty years after the conquest by Timour. 
Humaioon, son of Baber, carried his arms into 
Malwa and Guzerat, where Sultan Bahauder 
reigned. The latter, in order to defeat the ad- 
vance of Humaioon, granted the port of Diu to 
the Portuguese, in consideration of their aiding Portuguese 
him against the invader. Here we perceive the 
first footing obtained by an European power in 

Humaioon was subsequently driven to seek 
safety in Lahore by a revolt of the Afghauns, 
which took place under Shere Khan, during the 
emperor's absence from Delhi. He died in 1556. 
His son, Akbar, then only fourteen years of age, Akbar. 
was proclaimed king by the chiefs who had ac- 
companied his father to Lahore, and was crowned 
at Delhi in 1558. He raised Agra to great splen- 
dour, as a royal city, in 1570. During his reign 
Bengal was reduced, siege was laid to Patna and 
Allahabad, Guzerat was subdued, Ahmedabad was 
fortified, and the greater part of the Deccan, with 
the kingdoms of Viziapore and Golconda, were 
brought under his arms. 

Abul Fazil, the soldier and historian, enjoyed aih.i Fazii 
the full confidence of Akbar, and took an active murdere * 



part in the operations in the Deccan. On the 
revolt of Selim, the emperor's son, Abul Fazil 
being summoned by Akbar to Delhi, was murdered 
whilst on his way to obey the commands of his 
jehiungier. Selim proffered submission to his father, and 

succeeded to the throne at the close of the year 
1605, by the title of Jehaungier. He also expe- 
rienced the revolt of his eldest son, two of whose 
companions in the rebellion were condemned to 
suffer death.* In 1607 the emperor marched 
against Caubul. He reduced the refractory 
Afghauns, and afterwards prosecuted the war 
against the Nizam and the Deccan. 

Shah Jehan, his son, succeeded him in 1628. 
An insurrection in the Deccan, under Lodi, an 
omrah of the highest distinction, called forth the 
exertions of the Emperor, who sent an army to 
oppose him, but at the same time offered terms of 
pardon, which Lodi imprudently accepted. He 
was made governor of Malwa, and subsequently 
invited to the court at Delhi, where he was treated 
with great indignity. The apprehension of assas- 
sination induced him to flee from the court to 
Malwa. Having withstood the troops sent after 


* It is stated that one was sewn up in the raw hide of an ox, 
which, as it contracted by the heat of the sun, caused suffoca- 
tion ; the other was sewn up in the hide of an ass, but his friends 
having kept it moist by continually wetting it, his life was pre- 
served, and he was ultimately pardoned. 


him and obliged them to relinquish their pursuit, 
he traversed the provinces of Bahar and Oude on 
his way to Golconda, and ultimately reached 
Dowlatabad, where the Nizam received him with 
open arms. 

This conduct of the Nizam gave the Emperor 
an opportunity, for which he had long sought, of 
renewing his efforts to bring the Deccan into com- 
plete subjection. The Sovereign of Bejapoor, the 
King of Hydrabad and Talingana, and the Nizam, 
king of the Deccan, confederated in support of 
Lodi ; but the arms of the Emperor prevailed, 
and Lodi was cut to pieces. The confederates 
were ultimately reinstated in their possessions, 
upon condition of their acknowledging the Emperor 
and his successor to be lords paramount of the 

Aurungzebe, the third son of Shah Jehan, Aumngzebe. 
although naturally ambitious, concealed his real 
character and intentions under the assumed 
rigidity of a fakir. He was appointed to govern 
the Deccan in 1638. In 1658, through treachery 
towards his two brothers and by imprisoning his 
father, he obtained the imperial throne. He made 
considerable conquests in the Peninsula, and 
engaged in hostilities with the Mahrattas. 

The latter power arose in 1628, under Sevajee, Rise of the 
who in 1661 had made a conquest of the whole of 
the coast of the Concan, comprising the country 
from Goa to Demaun. He died in 1680, and was 



succeeded by Sambajee, who having taken under 
his protection the rebel son of Aurungzebe, the 
troops of the latter proceeded against him. The 
Emperor having obtained possession of his person 
by bribery, offered him his pardon if he would 
embrace the Mahomedan religion. Sambajee 
indignantly rejected the offer ; upon which his 
tongue was torn out. Still refusing to purchase 
mercy at the expense of his faith, the inhuman 
Emperor caused his heart to be cut out. 

Aurungzebe died in 1707. His conduct had 
exasperated the Mahrattas, who, under their chief 
Sahojee, overran and plundered the greater part 
of Hindostan. In 1735 they obtained authority 
Collect the to collect the chout, or fourth-part of the net 
revenues of all the provinces of the empire, 
excepting that of Bengal. At the death of Sahojee 
in 1740, their territories extended from the Western 
Ocean to Orissa, and from Agra to the Carnatic, 
being one thousand miles in length and seven 
hundred wide. Their capital was Sattarah. 
There were two principal leaders : Ballojee, the 
Peishwa or vicegerent, who resided at Poona, was 
looked upon as the chief; the other, Ragojee 
Boonslah, was the bukshi or commander-in-chief, 
who resided at Nagpoor in Berar. These two 
parties divided the kingdom ; but the Ram Rajah, 
or Rajah of Sattarah, was considered the supreme 
prince, as he bestowed a khelat on the accession 
of the Peishwa. Ballojee died in 1761, and was 




succeeded by Mhaderao, mention of whom will 
be found in the early political transactions of the 
Company. Narrain Rao succeeded in 1773 : on 
his death he was followed by Ragobah, his uncle, 
who was the cause of the protracted hostilities 
between the Bombay presidency and the Mah- 
rattas, which will be noticed hereafter. 

Ragojee Boonslah was succeeded by Janojee in 
1749 ; and Moodajee, the son of Janojee's younger 
brother, succeeded in 1775. 

Of the other Mahratta chiefs, some rose to 
eminence, and became formidable enemies to the 
British power. 

The first was Scindiah. A part of the province sdndiah. 
of Malwa, which had been separated from the 
Mogul dominions about 1732, was awarded to 
him by a grant from the Rajah of Sattarah, Oojein 
being his capital. 

The second was Holkar, who likewise obtained Hoikar. 
a considerable part of Malwa, his capital being 
Indore. The province of Kandeish was parti- 
tioned between the Peishwa, Scindiah, and 

The third chieftain was Futty Sing, generally Guicowar. 
called the Guicowar. He divided Guzerat with 
the Peishwa. 

The fourth was Purseram Bhow, the Rajah 
of Colapore 

The fifth was the Rastia family, long settled 
in the Concan. 




[Chaj*. I. 

This outline of the several native states, when 
the European nations opened an intercourse with 
the East by sea, and formed establishments there, 
may serve as an introduction to a political narrative 
Power, of the rise and progress of the British Power 
in that quarter of the globe : a power which has 
been more widely extended throughout the conti- 
nent of India than any that preceded, whether 
native or European. 

In connection with this fact it should be recol- 
lected, that the acquisition of our eastern posses- 
Estabiished by sions was not effected by the collective forces of 
Company. this nation, but by the East-India Company, 
who form the most extraordinary chartered body 
that has existed in any nation. They were incor- 
porated in the year 1600 by Queen Elizabeth, who 
had supported the Dutch republic as a barrier 
against the House of Austria. England perceived 
the advantages which accrued both to Portugal 
and Holland by their trade with Asia round the 
Cape, and became desirous to participate in that 
lucrative traffic. Individual means or enterprize 
were unequal to such an undertaking : ( the 
attempt could not be made but on a joint stock.' 
The London Company was accordingly formed, 
for the purpose of extending the commerce and 
navigation of this country. They continued 
without a rival until 1698, when the necessities of 
the state led to the formation of the English 
Company. The measure being proposed to 



Parliament, the London Company presented 
the following petition to the House of Commons 
in support of their privileges. 

To the Honble. the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, 
in Parliament assembled ; 

The humble Petition of the Governor and Company 
of Merchants of London trading into the East- 
Indies, in a General Court assembled, 
Humbly Sheweth : 
That your Petitioners have the sole trade to the East- 
Indies granted them by several Charters of Queen Elizabeth, 
and other his Majesty's Royal Predecessors, and those 
Charters confirmed by his present Majesty, wherein his 
Majestyhas been graciously pleased to grant your Petitioners 
the said trade for twenty-one years, from November 1693, 
under many regulations, agreed upon by this Honourable 
House, and to direct an additional subscription of ^744,000 
to the stock for the better carrying on their trade, and 
making it more national and extensive, which regulations 
are submitted unto, and the said <^?744,000 subscribed and 
paid in by a great number of new adventurers, since which 
subscription your Petitioners have suffered very severely in 
the loss of twelve ships, that would have produced here a 
very great sum of money. 

That your Petitioners, by reason of these losses, have 
reaped no benefit from their said subscription ; and yet 
have paid i?85,443. 6s. 6d. in taxes for their stock during 
the war, besides the taxes for this year, i?295,029. 13s. 4c/. 
in customs ; since the said subscription have also advanced 
among themselves, after their losses, great sums of money 
for carrying on their trade, and preserving the advantage 
thereof to the nation, and have likewise served his Majesty 
and the Gvernment on sundry occasions. 



That your Petitioners did not doubt (their losses by 
war and other the premises considered) but they should 
enjoy the benefit of their trade in time of peace ; whereas* 
instead thereof, they are informed, a proposal is given in to 
a Committee of this Honourable House, of a loan to be 
made by persons not interested in the said Company, so as 
they may have the sole trade to India, China, &c, exclusive 
of all others ; which proposal tends to the utter destruction 
of your Petitioners'' right. 

And forasmuch as your Petitioners are in possession of 
the said trade, have a revenue at Fort St. George and 
Bombay of about ^SOjOOO a-year, another at Fort St. 
David's of above £6,000 per annum, which are daily 
increasing, and large extent of lands in both places ; have 
also above ^?3,300 a-year paid them by the Persians, and 
the perpetual inheritance of Bombay and St. Helena, by 
several grants from the Crown of England ; have likewise 
divers forts, settlements, and territories on the island of 
Sumatra, without which the pepper trade would be entirely 
lost to this nation ; have also a strong fortification in 
Bengal, and several other factories (some of them fortified), 
buildings, settlements, privileges and immunities in many 
places within the limits of their trade, all which are their 
absolute propriety, and have cost them immense sums of 
money for the purchase and grants from Indian princes and 
others, and for the strengthening, and other expenses 
thereof.— 23d May 1698. 

Notwithstanding this appeal, the necessities of 
the state were such that the New Company was 
formed under the title of the English East-India 
Company. They, however, found that they could 
not compete with experience, added to possessions 
and capital, and at the recommendation of his 



Majesty King William the Third, the two Compa- 
nies agreed to form one society, to be designated 
"The United Company of Merchants of 
England trading to the East-Indies." 
The Company consisted of all persons holding a 
share in the capital stock, then amounting to 
£2,000,000. Every individual, whether male or 
female, possessing £500 stock, either in his or her 
own right or otherwise, was entitled to vote and 
to take part in discussions in the meeting of Pro- 
prietors, who when assembled were termed by the 
charter a " General Court of Proprietors." 
The Proprietors were to elect out of their body, 
every year, twenty-four members, each possessed 
of £2,000 stock, to be Directors of the Company. 
Thirteen members formed a quorum, and when 
assembled for business were termed a "Court of 
Directors." By the charter four General Courts 
are to be held in the year, each quarterly. A 
committee was to be chosen to frame by-laws for 
the government of the Company, which laws have 
the same force as those framed by Parliament, 
when not opposed to any existing Act.* 

* In order to facilitate the transaction of the Company's 
affairs, the charter empowered the Directors to form themselves 
into committees. ' 



1616. In the year 1616, the Company were confined, 

on the continent of India, to Surat and Amadavad, 
in the Mogul's dominions ; to Calicut, on the Ma- 
labar coast ; and to Masulipatam, on the Coro- 
mandel coast. 

1625. In 1625, their agents at Bantam,* in Java, sug- 

gested to the authorities in Europe the expediency 
of directing their attention to the trade on the Coro- 
mandel coast, and at the close of the season des- 
patched a vessel from Batavia to Masulipatam 
with a cargo. They also fixed on a station at 
Armagon, between Nellore and Pullicat. In 1638, 
the situation of Armagon being considered unfa- 
vourable for increasing the Company's commerce, 
Mr. Day, one of the council at Masulipatam, se- 
lected Madraspatam ; the Naig of that district 

Fort having offered, provided the English would settle 

St. George ox o 

first settled, there, to erect a fort at his own cost, and to ex- 
empt them from all customs on trade. So much 
importance was attached to securing this position, 
that, without waiting for instructions from England, 
a fortification was commenced at the expense of 
the Company; the fort receiving the name of 
Fort St. George, the town retaining its ori- 
ginal appellation. 
1653. In 1653, Fort St. George was raised to the rank 

of a presidency ; and, on the application of the 


* Bantam, at this early period, was one of the Company's 
principal settlements to the eastward. 


Company, in 1667, was incorporated by royal 
charter from his Majesty King Charles II. 

The island of Bombay, ceded by the crown of surat and 

. Bombay. 

Portugal to King Charles II., as a part of the leeues?. 
dowry of the Infanta Catherine, was, in 1688, 
granted by the King to the Company ; and, in 
1687, was constituted the chief seat of the British 
government in India, all the other settlements 
being declared subordinate to it. 

At the conclusion of the seventeenth century, i<39& 
the English in Bengal were settled at Calcutta, En &* h - 


the French at Chandernagore, and the Dutch at Dutch 
Chinsurah, all situated on the river Hooghly. 

The Rajahs of the country surrounding those Bengal. 
settlements having revolted against the Mogul 
government, and plundered several towns belong- 
ing to the Nabob of Bengal, the three European 
nations, for their own defence, immediately forti- 
fied their settlements, Aurungzebe, then Emperor, 
sent one of his grandsons to suppress the rebellion, 
and to superintend the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, 
and Orissa; through whom the English obtained 
permission, in 1698, to purchase from the Indian 
proprietors the villages of Soota Nutty, Calcutta, 
and Govindpore, on which ground the city of 
Calcutta now stands. A fort was ordered to be 
built, and, in compliment to his Majesty King 
William III., it was denominated Fort William. 

In 1712, the Company having acquired several 
additional factories for the prosecution of their 




[Chap. I. 



trade, and expended large sums in maintaining 
their interests against the influence of the Dutch, 
petitioned parliament for an extension of their 
commercial privileges. After considerable oppo- 
sition the exclusive right of trade was continued 
to them until 1733. In order to secure a greater 
degree of protection from the native powers, an 
embassy was despatched from Calcutta to the 
Emperor Ferrokshere at Delhi in 1715. It con- 
sisted of two of the most intelligent factors at the 

The progress of the embassy presents a curious, 
specimen of diplomacy. The following extract 
is given from the reports made to the authorities 
at Calcutta, by the deputation to the Emperor, 
as the Mogul or King was then designated. 

Our last to your Honours, &c. was from Agra the 24th 
ultimo, which place we left the same day. We passed 
through the country of the Jaats with success, not meeting 
with much trouble, except that once in the night, rogues 
came on our camp, but being repulsed three times they left 
us. We were met on the 3d July by Padre Stephanus 
bringing two Seerpaws, which were received with the usual 
ceremony by John Sur man and Cojah Surpaud. 

The 4th, we arrived at Barrapoola, three coss from the 
city, sending the Padre before to prepare our reception, 
that if possible we might visit the King the first day, 
even before we went to the house which was got for us. 
Accordingly, the 7th in the morning we made our entry 
with very good order, there being sent a munsubdar of 
2,000 munsub, with about 200 horse and peons to meet us, 
bringing likewise two elephants and flags. About the 



middle of the city we were met by Synd Sallabut Caim Be- 
hauder, and were by him conducted to the palace, where 
we waited till about twelve o'clock, till the King came out, 
before which time we met with Caundora Behauder, who 
received us very civilly, assuring us of his protection and 
good services. We prepared for our first present, viz. 100 
gold mohurs ; the table-clock set with precious stones ; the 
unicorn's horn ; the gold scrutoire bought from Tendy 
Caun ; the large piece of ambergris ; the aflo, and chel- 
lumche manilla work ; and the map of the world : these, 
with the Honourable the Governor's letter, were presented, 
every one holding something in his hand as usual. Con- 
sidering the great pomp and state of the kings of Hindo- 
stan, we were very well received. On our arrival at our 
house, we were entertained by Synd Sallabut Caun, suffi- 
cient both for us and our people ; in the evening he visited 
us again, and stayed about two hours. The great favour 
Caundora is in with the king, gives us hopes of success in 
this undertaking ; he assures us of his protection, and says 
the king has promised us very great favours. We have 
received orders, first, to visit Caundora as our patron, after 
which we shall be ordered to visit the grand Vizier, and 
other Omrahs. We would have avoided this if we could, 
fearing to disoblige the Vizier ; but finding it not feasible, 
rather than disoblige one who has been so serviceable, and 
by whose means we expect to obtain our desires, we comply 
with it. — Delhi, or Sha Jehanabad, July Sth 1715. 

Your Honour, &c. was before informed that three days 
after our arrival at the city, the king left it under a pretence 
of worshipping at a noted place, six coss from Delhi, 
but his real design was to get clear from the fort, where he 
thought himself not so free to command, which he might be 
by this journey, as appeared after. He went round the 
city, eight or ten days, and the Omrahs petitioned him to 

vol. i. c return, 


return, it being an unseasonable time to go further : he 
refused to consent, sometimes saying he would go to 
Lahore, and sometimes to Ajmere. We were startled at 
this news, looking back on the risk and trouble of bringing 
the present hither, although at the King's charge. How to 
remove it, or to pretend to enter on our negotiation without 
delivering it, we could not tell ; but after due consideration, 
we concluded the best way was to deliver the present as fast as 
possible, though the King was abroad ; and accordingly we 
carried all the japan scrutoires, japan earthen and lacquered 
ware, fire-arms, and cutlery ware, with us to the camp, 
and presented it. The second day, we delivered in a 
note for four hundred pieces of broad cloth, . ordinary ; 
the third day, another, for three hundred pieces aurora, 
and sixty pieces ordinary yellow : the following day, the 
fine reds, superfine scarlet, &c. after this, we returned to 
the city to prepare what was behind, and brought with us 
to the camp five standing clocks, twelve looking-glasses, 
and the map fitted up, which were presented ; but after his 
Majesty's perusal, the clocks were ordered to be sent back 
to us, to be taken care of till he returned to the city : this 
order hindered us from delivering any more goods. Since 
the King gave out he designed to proceed no farther than 
about forty coss from Delhi, to a noted place for worship, 
from whence he would immediately return, we concluded 
that we ought to attend his Majesty, leaving Mr. Stephen- 
son and Mr. Phillips to take care of the goods remaining 
in the city ; that we should give notice to the several Omrahs 
we intend to present ; and afterwards, under the favour of 
proceeding to commence our negotiation withal, in case the 
King should exceed the designed journey, that then Mr. 
Stephenson might hire carriages, and bring the goods after 
us. Pursuant to this consultation, we are now with his 
Majesty, twenty coss from the city : we are preparing our 



petitions to be delivered. God send they may meet with 
the desired success. 

We have, from time to time on the way, and since 
our arrival there, desired sufficient supplies of money to 
enable us to go on with our business. It is impossible for 
us now to enlarge more on that head, but that it is certain, 
if we are not supplied, we shall be in no ways able to effect 
any thing at this court ; all that we can possibly do is to 
advise your Honour, &c of our pressing necessities. We 
were in hopes to supply our honourable masters with a 
large sum from the private goods with us, but the King's 
leaving the city, no merchant is to be had for them, so 
hitherto that method has been impracticable. — Twenty coss 
from Delhi, 4th August 1715. 

The Mogul had suffered under a long illness. Mr. 
Hamilton, an English physician, had attended him, which 
created a strong feeling against us in the minds of the 
natives. Mr. Hamilton advises that his constitution is so 
manifestly mended, that he hopes in a few days to effect a 
perfect cure. This affair has made no little noise in this 
court, and although the King's doctors have made a great 
stir, to edge Mr. Hamilton out, yet by the particular 
influence of his Majesty's favour, and our patron's assistance, 
thanks be to God, all has been carried on very even, and 
his Majesty having made use of many and particularly 
favourable expressions to Coja Surpaud and Mr. Hamilton 
on this occasion, has given us such pleasing hopes that 
may fully recompense the delay that has been made hitherto. 
— Delhi, Nov. 8,1715. 

We wrote you the welcome news of the King's recovery. 
As a clear demonstration to the world, he washed himself 
the 23d, and accordingly received the congratulations of 
the whole court. As a reward for Mr. Hamilton's care 

c 2 and 


and success, the King was pleased the 30th to give him in 
public, viz. a vest, a culgee set with precious stones, two 
diamond rings, an elephant, horse, and 5,000 rupees, 
besides ordering, at the same time, all his small instruments 
to be made in gold, visa, gold buttons for coat, waistcoat, 
and breeches, set with jewels : the same day Coja Surpaud 
received an elephant and vest as a reward for his attendance 
on this occasion. Monsieur Mar was to have received a 
reward the same day with Mr. Hamilton ; but considering 
it was not for the credit of our nation to have any one 
joined with him, especially since he had no hand in the 
business, we got his reward deferred till three days after- 
wards, when he had a vest, elephant, and 1,000 rupees ; a 
favour purely owing to his Majesty's generosity, and because 
he was his servant. 

We have esteemed this a particular happiness, and 
hope it will prove ominous to the success of our affairs, it 
being the only thing that detained us hitherto from delivering 
our general petition ; so pursuant to the orders we received 
from Caundora, the King's recovery was succeeded by the 
giving in the remainder of our present (reserving a small 
part only till the ceremony of his marriage should be over), 
and then delivered our petition to Caundora, by his means 
to be introduced to his Majesty. Synd Syllabut Caun, 
who has all along managed our affairs under Caundora, 
being at that instant and some time before much indisposed, 
we were obliged to carry it ourselves, without taking care 
to have his recommendation annexed. Since the delivery, 
Coja Surpaud has been frequently with Caundora, to 
remind him of introducing it to his Majesty, but has 
always been informed no business can go forward till the 
solemnization of the King's wedding is over, when he has 
promised a speedy despatch. All offices have been shut up 




for some days, and all business in the kingdom must natu- 
rally subside to this approaching ceremony ; so that we 
cannot repine at the delay. — Delhi, 1th Dec. 1715. 

A phirmaund, or royal grant, having been b e 
issued conferring additional privileges upon the 1715 - 
Company, Calcutta was declared an independent 
presidency, accountable only to the Directors at 

Jaffier Khan was at this time governor of 
Bengal, and subsequently obtained a grant of 
Bahar and Orissa. His conduct towards the 
English was tyrannical and extortionate. Having 
manifested an indisposition to obey the orders 
from the Mogul for the grants to the Company, 
the members of the embassy on their return to 
Cossimbusar, addressed the Council at Calcutta 
in the following terms : 

We are entirely of your opinion that you ought not to 
acquiesce in JafFer Cawn's refusing obedience to the King^s 
royal orders, nor sit quiet under his disobedience of them : 
we never entertained such imaginations, but rather that he 
ought to be compelled to it by such means as your Honour, 
&c. think best. 

You are sensible that no black servant in the country 
dare speak with that peremptoriness to so great a man as 
JafFer Cawn, as sometimes the nature of our affairs require, 
on which consideration we ourselves went in person to him, 
and showed him the phirmaund, and demanded the free use 
of the mint as before advised. Mr. Feake disputed the 
point himself with Jaffer Cawn in the Indostan language, 
face to face, Eckeram Cawn Duan and others being 



present, with ten or a dozen Munsubdars and several 
of the Mutsuddies, in a public court, who were all eye 
and ear witnesses to the smart and warm replies Mr. 
Feake at last made him: the whole Durbar was sur- 
prised, and several whispered to Coja Delaun with a seem- 
ing fear in what the dispute might end. Jaffer Cawn 
remained silent for some time, and then ordered beetle to be 
brought, and despatched us with a few sweetening words, 
that we would rest satisfied he should not be our enemy, 
but see what was to be done, and the like, which is a custo- 
mary cajole he uses to get rid of company he don't like, as 
was plain he did not ours, for he never had so much said to 
his face since he has been a Duan or Subah, nor does he 
usually give any one such an opportunity. Nothing that was 
necessary to be said or done remained, but giving the duhoy, 
which experience has taught us is of no value with Jaffer 
Cawn, who suffers nothing to be sent to court without 
being read and approved by him : those officers dare as well 
eat fire, as send anything unknown to him. 

Our Vacqueel, though an elderly man, and possibly not 
so brisk as some others, yet he has the character of the 
boldest Vacqueel in this Durbar; he once before did give the 
duhoy, and shall do it again, if your Honour, &c. please to 
give orders; but we crave leave to offer some reasons we 
have against doing it at this juncture. — Cossimbuzar, 15th 
August 1717. 

We have wrote you already this day with our accounts, 
since which our broker (whom the Nabob's mutsuddy sent 
for last night) is returned from the Durbar, and acquaints 
us, that Dupnaran (whom we have lately obliged to be our 
friend) took him home to his house, and told him the 
phirmaund and perwannaes, which we formerly shewed the 
Nabob, were then sent up to the King. If you have got 
another copy of them, he said, bring them to me. I have 



talked to the Nabob (who is violently angry with you), but 
give my service to your master, and tell him I have hopes 
to adjust your affairs, and will, if possibly it lies in my 
power : not that I am sure of it, for the Nabob is a vile 
man, but let me have a copy of your grants, and I'll try 
what is to be done. — Cossimbuzar, Nov. 21, 1717. 

The Directors wrote to the Bengal Presidency Letter to 

,i r t i Bengal, 

on the importance of attending to the revenues, 3d Feb. 1 719. 
and deprecated any extension of the Company's 

Para. 63. We come now to take notice of that which 
we must always have a due regard to, viz. the articles of 
our revenue. We need not repeat the reasons ; we have 
often mentioned them. The assurances you have given us, 
that you will, and still do, continue to enlarge our revenues 
all you possibly can without oppression, and faithfully 
promise your utmost endeavours, as well to augment them 
as diminish the expenses, excepting that of the military, 
which you would not lessen, are so many acceptable instances 
of your care and zeal for our service. We can desire no 
more, but to see these promising blossoms ripening into 
fruit. We would not have them enlarged by oppressing 
any, the poorest person ; and allow the reason you give for 
continuing your military, that it is the best argument you 
can use for supporting our privileges and the trade, to be 
very substantial ; the experience at Cossimbuzar, and for 
bringing down your goods, are pregnant instances of it, 
among many others. 

64. "Notwithstanding the doubts we had, whether it 
would be our interest to have the thirty-eight towns, if 
granted, or whether they might not engage us in quarrels 
with the Moors, if hereafter they should be resolved to 
take them away, when they found them to flourish, of 



Letter to which we wrote you to have your opinion ; we find by 

3d Feb ga i719 P ara * ^» y ou sa ^ t ^ ie 3 r wou ^ be °f great advantage to us 
to have them. This we have discoursed Mr. Frankland 
upon, and of the necessary charge of soldiers to protect 
them from, or keep off, insults ; and having well weighed 
the expected profit on one side, and the trouble that one 
time or other may be occasioned thereby on the other, we 
think it best for us to have only so many of them (when 
you can purchase them) as lie contiguous to our three 
towns above and below them, and those on the other side 
of the river, within about the same extent of ground as the 
towns when purchased reach on your side; and we are 
inclined only to have such of them as lie on or within about 
two miles of the bank of the river, because if there should 
ever be a necessity of defending them from the inroads of 
some neighbouring petty governor, our soldiers may not 
be harassed by long marches to defend our bounds. We 
suppose, too, that when Jaffer Cawn, or any other 
governor, finds you desire only part of what you might 
insist on, he or they may be the easier to give their consent, 
and not pick future quarrels ; for as our business is trade, 
it is not political for us to be encumbered with much 
territory. Mr. Frankland assures us, the ground on the 
other side of you would be of great service to us for 
repairing our ships, because the river is not rapid there, 
and as we have said about the dock, that we should find 
benefit if we could have a good one. We might also add, 
that if ever we should be forced to the necessity of it, our 
settlement there would enable us to command the river ; 
but this is not to be so much as publicly hinted at, lest 
it alarm the government. 

The Court of Directors again, whilst they 
looked to the confirmation of the phirmaunds, 



expressed their indisposition to territorial acqui- 

Para. 57. By the letters and consultations before us, it General Letter 

to Bengal, 
appears that King Mahmud Shaw is likely to sit easy on 16 Feb. 1721. 

his throne, and not be troubled with competitors, or 

embarrassed by his officers, since the syads are cut off. 

That thereupon you cannot doubt that the subahship of 

Bengal will be soon settled, and Jaffer Cawn know whether 

he shall be continued or removed, and will bribe high 

to keep his post. That when you know who is subali, you 

will endeavour to get possession of the phirmaund grants, 

being unwilling to launch out monies at uncertainties, as in 

all likelihood it would be during the unsettled posture of 

affairs in the empire, wherein we think you judged rightly, 

that Hyder Cooly Caun, who is a great friend to the 

English, is, by report, one of the king's greatest favourites : 

he plainly shewed himself so while subah at Surat, for it 

was he who ordered us to be put into possession of the 

phirmaund privileges there. By all this we hope you will 

lay hold of the present opportunity to get the grants 

confirmed. First, that of the mint ; then such of the 

towns as you shall judge proper, in pursuance of what we 

have wrote you, and according to the paragraphs which you 

promise to have regard unto. Remember, ive are not fond 

of much territory, especially if it lies at a distance from you, 

or is not pretty near the water-side, nor indeed of any, 

unless you have a moral assurance it will contribute, directly 

or in consequence, to our real benefit. 

The Company's representatives abroad had, at 
this early period, directed their attention to the 
formation of roads, &c. 

Para. 76. The reasons given for making the new roads General Letter 
on the S.S.W. and E. to W- sides of your towns, and the iQ°* e ™fw L 



General Letter benefit expected and arising thereby, as well to see through 
16^^1721 y our bounds into the country of the neighbouring Zemin- 
dars, who attacked you some time before, as to facilitate the 
march of your soldiers when necessary to support your 
utmost outguards, and prevent private robberies in the night 
from rogues abroad, and that thereby the wind hath a free 
passage into the town, and likely to contribute to its healthi- 
ness, carry their own commendations with them ; and we 
must add, we look on it as a piece of good management in 
you to lay hold of a fitting opportunity, to persuade your 
inhabitants to agree to your making them, and they bear 
the charge. 

The desire of the Directors was conveyed to 
the Council in Bengal, that the young servants 
should be urged and encouraged to acquire a 
knowledge of the native languages. 

General Letter Para. 82. We observe vour want of writers. We sent 

to Bengal, J 

16 Feb. 1721. you a sufficient supply the last season. Encourage them 

all to learn the country languages, which are sooner attained 
by youth than men grown, because the memory is then 
more fitted to keep what they learn, and their tongues more 
ready and pliable to give the true accent in pronunciation. 
Besides, some men are so proud, they think it is like sending 
them again to school when they are put upon learning a 
language. Enquire at some set times what proficiency the 
youths make therein, and awaken their ambition by repre- 
senting to them, they will be the better qualified for a 
chiefship in time, or to be employed at the aurungs. 

General Letter Para. 55. The accounts you give us of being pretty 
14 Feb. 1722. easy with the country government, notwithstanding the un- 
settled condition of the country, is acceptable, and much 
more your proceedings in clearing Contoo, the Cossimbuzar 



broker, when seized by the Nabob, and your boats when General Letter 
stopped at the several choukies. These are so many new ^^"f^. 
proofs of the necessity of putting on a face of power and 
resolution, as we have often mentioned, to recover our pri- 
vileges when openly infringed, and softer methods and 
applications for redress prove ineffectual, and that even the 
country government are afraid when you give them the 
duhoy in a prudent manner, and on well-grounded occasion. 
Yearly experience shews you they are always watching for 
opportunities to get money out of you, as in the dispute 
of your making the road for the benefit of your towns. 
Let it be your constant care (as hitherto by what appears 
it has been), to give them no just handles if possible. We 
need not add (because it hath been often recommended to 
you), that you continue to keep fair with the Hughly 
government, which, with a little prudence, may be done at 
a cheap rate, even your usual piscoshes. Be equally careful 
to keep up a good understanding with the Nabob, so as 
good words and a respectful behaviour, without paying too 
dear for it, will contribute. Is there no likelihood of con- 
tracting a friendship with one or more of his favourites, to 
make your way to, and the obtaining your requests from, 
him more easy ? Such things have been practised formerly, 
and particularly by President Eyres, who, by his intimacy 
with MirzaMudusfer, first obtained the grant of your towns. 

The effects resulting from the access of licensed 
and unlicensed parties into the interior, were 
noticed from home. 

Para. 63. We understand some of the persons we have General Letter 
permitted to reside free merchants in India, have suggested l^FebTfe 
that, by virtue of the license contained in their covenants 
under our common seal, they have an equal liberty with 
ourselves to trade where and how they please : and think 



General Letter themselves no way accountable for mal-administration, or to 
i4°F J b I r722 ^ e questioned by our Presidents and Councils (who are our 
representatives) when chargeable therewith. Give public 
notice to all with you, that if they persist in that opinion, 
they will find themselves mistaken, and that by a clause in 
their covenants they are obliged to return for England when- 
ever we shall see just cause. That you have our authority 
to send them accordingly, whenever you find them acting 
contrary to our general interest, or that of the English trade 
in India. As to such as are not under covenants, and there- 
fore presume they are no way accountable for their behaviour 
towards us or the interest aforesaid ; do you take care to let 
them know, that by the laws, no subject of his Majesty can 
stay in India without our leave, and therefore, as they are 
there only during good behaviour, so you will let them con- 
tinue no longer than they deserve it. 

64. Though we have laid down these rules on such gene- 
ral terms, yet we add, that we will not have the President 
and Council put them in practice so far as to send any to 
England, unless where the accusation is full, and as well 
proved as the case can admit of, and the fault of a notorious 
nature ; such as assisting our enemies, or openly striking 
at our privileges, or refusing to comply with the rules by us 
prescribed for the good government of our settlements, 
where such person or persons shall be ; and this not by 
inferences only, or strained constructions or interpreta- 

To check extravagance, and to enforce obedience 
to orders, the Directors wrote, 

Letter to Para. 19- We find an entry in your consultation of a 

7 T Beng i7V c 'haise ana * P a i r °f horses bought for the President, Mr. 

Deane, charged to us as costing Rupees eleven hundred. 

We gave no order or leave for it, and thereby, we hereby 


Chap. I.' 



Letter to 
Dec. 1725. 

direct that the money be repaid into our cash out of his 
effects, and that nothing of this nature be again introduced: 
if our servants will have such superfluities, let them pay 
for them. 

The state of the Mogul affairs led the Court to 
caution the Council to be fully alive to the passing 
events in which the Company's interests might be- 
come involved. 

The battle you mentioned to be fought by the Vizier, 
wherein he was successful against the King's army, and 
killed the general Mombarras Cawn, his sons, and several 
Omrahs, does in our opinion show that affairs in the Mogul's 
dominions are in the utmost confusion, and tend towards 
some extraordinary crisis. Our advices from Fort St. George 
say, that the said Vizier, Chicklis Cawn, was in the Metch- 
lepatam country, and from thence intended to march to 
Bengal to enlarge his power. Time only must discover the 
event of these troubles : in the interim keep a watchful eye 
to preserve yourselves from danger, and keep up your 
friendship with the Hughly government, which may be the 
more necessary in this critical juncture. 

The Directors announced to the government 
that they had obtained his Majesty's Royal 
Charter for a Mayor's Court at Calcutta. 

To enable us by virtue thereof to have our affairs in all 
those places, and within the districts therein-mentioned, as 17 Feb g 1726 
also in all the subordinate factories in those presidencies, 
managed with greater authority than ever hitherto, we 
applied to get the management of the civil affairs, as 
near as we could, agreeable to the practice and methods 
of the Mayor's Court at Fort St. George, which have con- 
tinued for many years, as you will see in the said charter, 


Letter to 


Letter to of which we send you, by the < Bridgwater, 1 an exempli- 
17 Feb. g 1726. fication under the great seal of this kingdom. 

Various books of instruction for the proceedings 
of the new court, were transmitted with the 

13. If you apply heartily, as we earnestly recommend 
to you to endeavour, you will bring the Mayor's Court, 
though new with you at present, into use and good liking 
of all the people, for doubtless there doth arise among you 
at times some disputes in the matters of meum and tuum, 
and if you do exercise the other powers with prudence and 
justice: and we must tell you it is greatly incumbent on 
you so to do, for the very intimations of kings are com- 
mands, and if not obeyed, or their grants not thankfully 
accepted and made use of as they ought, may bring you as 
well as us into a premunire. 

15. Be you particularly careful on your part, and let the 
mayor and aldermen know that we also earnestly recommend 
to them, to check the first beginnings of any oppressions, 
exactions, misbehaviour towards any, or the least foul prac- 
tice of the attornies and other officers of the court ; keep 
them all within due bounds of decorum, and discountenance 
all attempts of prolonging of suits. In the instructions are 
certain distances of times between one part of the processes 
and what next is to follow ; let the court curtail them as 
much as equitable may be, for justice may be rendered sour 
by delaying : the most expeditious it can be made in reason 
is thereby the better. 

Jaffier Khan the Nabob of Bengal, died in 1725, 
and was succeeded by Sujah Khan, his son-in-law, 
who removed to Moorshedabad, accompanied by 
two omrahs, one of whom was Ally Verdy Khan. 



The Court adverted to the event in the follow- 
ing terms : — 

We find vou seem to lament the death of your old Letter to 
J J Bengal, 

Nabob Jaffer Cawn, and wish that he may be succeeded by 21 Feb. 1728. 

his son-in-law Sujah Cawn, who you say had on many 

occasions showed the English his friendship and favour. 

Wherefore, we are very glad to find by yours of the 28th 

of January, that he had been appointed and confirmed in 

that high station, hoping that he will continue us his 

friendship and favour : so that we flatter ourselves that our 

affairs, under your care, will not be any ways prejudiced by 

this change in your government. 

In 1729, Ally Verdy Khan was appointed 
governor of Bahar, and ultimately, through in- 
trigue and treachery, proclaimed Nabob of Ben- 
gal, Bahar, and Orissa. 

The following orders to Bengal, explain the ori- 
gin of the appointment of a Council of nine Mem- 
bers, which continued until Parliament entered 
upon an inquiry into the affairs of the Company. 

Para. 11. The badness of the goods sent us for two Letter to 
years past, having not only raised a general clamour among 3 rjec. 8 ?731 
the buyers, but also great uneasiness in the Proprietors of 
the Company's stock, and we being convinced that there 
has been a culpable neglect in the management of our 
affairs by the unequal sortment of the goods, deficiencies in 
their lengths and breadths, and excessive high prices, 
together with the vast quantities of fine unvendable articles 
sent us, contrary to our orders, and having kept back 
great quantities of goods we wanted and ordered, and 
have been employed for their private trade; by the first 
we are great sufferers, and by the last we are deprived of 



Letter to great profits that we might naturally have expected, those 
3 Dec n ?731 goods being greatly in demand ; for these reasons, and to 
strike terror to those that succeed, we have thought fit to 
dismiss from our service six members. This extraordinary 
step we have been obliged to take, in order to remedy 
these and any such like evils, and to clear our reputations 
from the censure the world would otherwise throw upon us, 
that we connived at the bad actions of our servants, hereby 
convincing mankind that we are not biassed with favour or 
affection to any particular person whatsoever. 

12. By these ships we have sent a commission under 
our seal, constituting and appointing John Stackhouse, 
Esq. to be President, with eight other members, for the 
management of all our affairs at Calcutta, and the factories 
subordinate thereto, hereby directing the military, and all 
under our protection, to pay all due respect to such orders 
as you shall think fit to make for our advantage, or the 
benefit of the place. 

13. We persuade ourselves that you, the now President 
and Council, having such an example of our just resentment 
set before you, will, in your several stations, discharge the 
great trust reposed in you, by studying to advance the 
Company's interest by all possible means ; and as we are 
informed that great mischiefs happen to our interest, as 
well as to your own destruction, by the private trade of 
India, as it is at present, and has for some years past been 
carried on, to a much greater degree than it should have 
been, we reserve ourselves to give our opinion upon that 
head by the latter ships. 

The Court then urge upon the Council the 
importance of setting an example of economy. 

17. Among the rest of complaints from your place, 
is none of the least, the extravagant way of living, of 


Chap. I.] 



which we shall enlarge more in our next letters ; at 
present we only recommend it very seriously to our new 
president, that he shews a good example of frugality, by 
keeping a decent retinue, such as formerly was practised, 
for the dignity of his station ; and not fall into that foppery 
of having a set of music k at his table, and a coach and six, 
with guards and running footmen, as we are informed is 
now practised, not only by the president, but some of 
inferior rank, and that he recommends the same to all those 
that shall be in lower stations, in order to check this 

The pirate forces on the Malabar coast had se 
riously affected the interests of the Company — the 
successful efforts made by their servants to sup- 
press Angria's power were urged as a ground for 
seeking favour at the hands of the Nabob, and 
economy was again pressed upon their attention. 

Par. 40. You are, no doubt, well apprized of the great charge 
we are, and have been at for a series of years, in order to 
depress and keep under the power of Angria's family upon 
the Malabar coast, more especially of late, to prevent their 
seizing upon the Sciddee's territories, which if accomplished, 
would make them formidable to the highest degree to the 
whole trade of India, both Moors and Europeans : this has 
been attended with such desirable success, that their fleets 
have been either blocked up in harbour, or hindered from 
committing any considerable depredations, and our servants 
at Fort St. George inform us, that the courtiers about the 
Mogul have a very grateful sense of these our services to 
the common good, and therefore, as you have frequent 
squabbles with the Nabob at Muxadavad, and other great 
men about you, we are apt to think that, if proper measures 
were taken by your vacqueel at court, an order might be 
vol. i. i) obtained 

Letter to 


3 Dec. 1731. 

Letter to 
31 Jan. 173k 



[Chap. I. 

Letter to 


31 Jan. 1734. 

Letter to 


23 Jan. 1735. 

Letter to 


12 Dec. 1735. 

obtained commanding the Nabob to use us better, and in a 
more friendly manner upon that account. 

41. We are highly pleased that the extravagant way of 
living which had obtained such deep rooting among you, is 
entirely laid aside. Whenever such a practice prevails in any 
of our servants, we shall always suspect that we are the 
paymasters in some shape or other, and it seldom fails of 
bringing them to penury and want; we must, therefore, 
both for your sakes and our own, earnestly recommend 
frugality as a cardinal virtue, and by a due regard to the 
said advice, we do not doubt but the diet and other allow- 
ances from us will be amply sufficient to defray all neces- 
sary expenses, as Bengal is not only the cheapest part of 
India to live in, but perhaps the most plentiful country in 
the whole world. 

The Court desired to secure the people from 
oppression, and they pointed out the necessity of 
the Council watching the growing influence of the 

55. Whenever encroachments are made by farmers or 
renters, and the poor inhabitants are oppressed by them, 
contrary to the tenor of their cowles, all such unwarrantable 
proceedings must be nipt in the bud. It plainly appears from 
the fifty-ninth paragraph, that they watch all opportunities 
to extend their power beyond legal bounds, and therefore 
you must have a constant eye over them, and whenever any 
just complaints are made against them by the parties 
aggrieved, be sure to see justice done them, and by taking 
vigorous measures immediately, thereupon prevent any such 
foul practices being repeated. 

Now the French are settled at Patna, our chief and 
council must double their diligence, and keep all the 
Assamys they can true to our interest, and advance such of 


Chap. 1.] 



them as comply with their contracts sufficient sums of Letter to 
money to carry on their business, being cautious to make i2De" g 1735 
as few bad debts as possible. We should esteem it an 
agreeable piece of service, if a year's stock of petre before- 
hand lay always at Calcutta, and as such recommend it to 
you, to use your utmost endeavours to accomplish it, pro- 
vided it can be done without advancing the price, which 
when obtained will answer very valuable purposes. 

In order to enforce a system of economy in all 
branches of their establishment, the Directors 
prescribed the form of an oath to be taken by 
their servants, binding them to abstain from all 
pecuniary dealings with the natives whilst they 
held an official station. 

Para. 17. For want of due regard to our orders, we have Letter to 

suffered many evils and much damage, most part of our 8 Feb. 1737. 

servants, as we have reason to believe, being fallen into 
a dependence upon the black merchants and shroffs with 
whom our business is transacted, and therefore we order, 
that in the room of the present oath of fidelity, the follow- 
ing oath shall be taken by all who continue in, or shall be 
admitted as chief and of council at Calcutta, or any of 
the subordinate factories, and that none but such as do take 
the said oath shall be deemed, either then or in future, qua- 
lified to act in such stations in our service. 

I do swear, that I will be true and faith- 
ful to the United Company of Merchants of England trad- 
ing to the East-Indies, and will duly and faithfully execute 
and discharge the trust reposed in me to the utmost of my 
skill and power, and that I am not now indebted to, nor 
will run in debt to or borrow of, directly or indirectly, all 
or any of the merchants, shroffs, or other persons with 
whom the said Company now hath made or may make any 

d 2 contract, 



[Chap. I. 

Letter to contract, nor of any other merchants, shroffs, or other per- 
8 Feb"?737. sons > by their being security for me, either jointly or sepa- 
rately, above the sum of four thousand rupees in the whole, 
during my being in this council; — So help me God. 

18. And in case at any time any one is found to be 
guilty of the breach of this oath, you are hereby directed to 
expel him immediately from our service. 

The inhabitants having suffered from the effects 
of a severe storm, the government came forward 
to their relief, and a scarcity having arisen in 
Bengal in the following year, the Directors ap- 
proved and sanctioned the measures adopted 
by the government for alleviating the distress 
on both occasions. 

We approve of your relieving the inhabitants, on their 
suffering by the storm the loss of their dwellings and great 
part of their substance, and in forbearing to collect the 
revenues of the poor people in the town for some time. 

Para. 61. You did well in prohibiting the exportation of 

21 Mar<Sri739. r i ce on the scarcity ; the welfare of the place, on all such 

melancholy occasions, must be first and principally regarded. 

62. We cannot but acquiesce, on so general a calamity, 
in your taking off the duty on all rice brought into the 
town ; and approve of buying a parcel with our money, to 
deliver out in small parcels at the bazar rate. 

At this period Nizam-ul-Mulk, the soubahdar 
of the Deccan, became jealous of the Nabob Ally 
Verdy's increasing power in Bengal, and instigated 
the Mahrattas to demand the chout,* or tribute, 


* Vide page 8. 

Letter to 


13 Dec. 1738. 

Letter to 

Chap. I. 



granted them by the Mogul. They accordingly Bengal. 
advanced in the two divisions of Poonah and Berar 
to Burdwan, under the command of Bajee Row 
and Ragojee Boonslah. The scourge occasioned 
by the irruption was dreadful. Commerce was at 
a stand throughout the provinces ; the poor af- 
frighted natives fled in terror from their looms and 
their fields to the woods, where they either perished 
from hunger, or fell an easy prey to the wild beasts 
with which the forests abounded. The inhabitants 
of Calcutta, dreading a repetition of the calamities, 
obtained permission to dig a ditch round the city, 
to the extent of seven miles (the Company's 
bounds), which was called the Mahratta Ditch. 

Ally Verdy succeeded, the following year, in 
obliging the Mahrattas to make a precipitate 
retreat : upon which occasion he was confirmed 
by the Mogul soubahdar of Bengal, Bahar, and 
Orissa, on condition of his remitting annually to 
Delhi a certain tribute. 

The measures taken by the Council to guard 
against the effects of a repetition of the Mahratta 
invasion were sanctioned by the Directors. 

We entirely approve of the necessary precautions taken Letter to 
on the Morattas' invasion to prevent a surprise, by hiring 21 March 1743. 
a number of Lascars, forming the inhabitants into a militia, 
surveying the town, fortifications, guns, purchasing some 
small arms and the like ; the expense upon such an urgent 
occasion we cheerfully acquiesce in, relying upon your 
care and frugality in disbursing our money on every 

Para. 45. 


Letter to Para. 45. As the province is liable to the Morattas' 

7 MayT746 incursions, we would have such additions made to our forti- 
fications as you upon the spot shall deem requisite for the 
security of the settlements, putting us to no further expense 
herein than is necessary. 

Among the various matters that arose in the 
course of the Company's government was a ques- 
tion as to what oaths should be administered to 
Heathens, or Indians, within their respective 
jurisdictions. The Directors wrote to the govern- 
ment in Bengal : 

Cental 10 Para. 25. Having from time to time consulted the most 

9 March 1747. eminent counsel upon the subject, we send you extracts from 
the opinions which have been already taken, and hope they 
will be sufficient for your government. 

26. Mr. Browne, the Company's standing counsel, in an 
opinion of his, says : — 

" If the witness voluntarily takes the oath of his country 
from the hands of a Bramin, or in the pagodas, in order 
to give a sanction to his testimony, before he comes to attest 
a fact, all that you can do is to afford a greater or less 
share of credit to his evidence, according to the solemnity 
and the nature of the oath taken, and the degree of reve- 
rence in which it is held by the Indians ; and from this 
measure, and the probabilty of fact testified, the Court 
must form a judgment upon the whole case according to 
their real belief of the witness." 

Sir Dudley Rider, attorney-general, Sir John Strange, 
late solicitor-general, and Mr. Browne, in a joint opinion, 

" We think it safest for the Court to admit the evidence 
of Heathen witnesses in such cases as have been usual since 



the charter, and upon such oaths as are commonly taken by Letter to 
them in case of evidence, according to their respective 9 ^"hlW. 
religions ; but to be particularly careful not to oblige them 
to take such oaths as their customs render it infamous for 
them to take." 

The same gentlemen, in answer to another question, 

"We are of opinion the Court cannot compel the tak- 
ing of the Pagoda oath, and if the Court, upon the party's 
refusal to take, or should, without entering into the merits 
of the cause, make a decree against the party, we apprehend 
it would be error, and a foundation for an appeal ; and if 
the Mayor's Court should endeavour by censure to compel 
the party to take it, it will be a just ground of complaint 
ajjainst the Court as a misbehaviour in their office." 

And the present Attorney and Solicitor-general, Mr. 
Browne and Mr. Browning, in a joint opinion, say : — 

" If the Mayor's Court should insist on an Indian's 
putting in his answer, or being sworn as a witness in a 
manner inconsistent with the religion of his caste, it will 
be proper to bring that matter before the Governor and 
Council by appeal." 

27. We expect these opinions will have that weight with 
the Mayor's Court to induce them to accept the answers 
and evidence of the Gentoos, and other natives of India, 
upon such oaths as are commonly taken by them, and not 
to insist upon such as their customs render it infamous for 
them to take. 

The Directors, in their instructions to their pre- madras. 
sidency of Madras, cautioned the Council to 
avoid being involved in the troubles that had 
arisen amongst the native powers on the Coast. 



Madras They unwillingly consented to incur the heavy 
charges which the repair of the fortifications had 
rendered necessary, they pressed the observance 
of all possible economy, and desired that every 
encouragement should be given to the native 
population to settle around the Company's pro- 
perty by just and humane government. 
Letter to Fort The troubles in the country round about you give but 
1 Dec^ls. a dull P ros P e ct. Let it be your care to keep them as far 
off yourselves as you can ; to give no occasion, as far as pos- 
sibly to be avoided, for quarrelling with you, and to be con- 
stantly on your guard. 

50. The making no further present to the Nabob, and 
ordering our people at Vizagapatam not to give any thng 
when a large present is demanded, are both satisfactory. 
Every sum parted with is only a temptation to them to 
expect and demand a greater, and ought never to be done 
unless on an absolute necessity to prevent a worse mischief. 
52. For the reasons by you given, we permit you to rebuild 
your silver Mint, taking care it be done substantially, and 
made as useful as you can, but without the charge of orna- 
ments ; let frugality be used in the whole. The Powder- 
house we also consent to be rebuilt, made useful and substan- 
tial. The East Curtain at Fort St. David's, and the cover- 
ing of the Garden-house and the Cudalore Factory, we shall 
allow of, depending on Mr. Pitt's inspection, that both be 
done with frugality and substantially performed. It is a 
prodigious sum our buildings there and at Fort St. George 
have cost us, so that every motion for laying out more sounds 

58. When we say such or such an article of expense shall 
not exceed the sum limited by us, we do not thereby mean 
that we are content it should be so much, as by the letters 


Chap. I.] 



before us you seem to apprehend when you refer to the 
months you compared, but our general aim thereby is, that 
on no pretence it be higher, though as much lower as possible. 

59. But what is of the last importance to us is, that the 
bounds be filled with useful inhabitants, and the only way 
to get and keep them is by a steady and constant, just and 
humane government, doing right to every one, and not suf- 
fering the voice of oppression to be heard, or so much as 
whispered in the streets. We hope Mr. Pitt has been 
careful, and will continue and persevere therein, which will 
be for his honour and our advantage. The increase of the 
inhabitants and of the revenues, and the lessening of the 
annual expense, will be to us the most convincing arguments 
of his good management, especially if thereto be added (as 
we expect) the due care of the investments. 

The Directors, in transmitting the charter for 
the Mayor's Court, describe its constitution, and 
recommended to that court — 

To have always as many of their members there in all 
judgments to be given by them as possible, not only for 
the greater solemnity, but also for the more thorough sifting 
all matters that shall come before them ; to prevent, as far as 
possible, the least mistake or error in the sentence given, as 
remembering they do therein act in the place of God 
towards the people ; and, according to the Scripture expres- 
sion, " he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the 
fear of God." 

The financial difficulties of the Company are 
adverted to as the reason why they could not con- 
sent to lower the duties on the trade, and the 
Council were desired to take measures for induc- 
ing the native weavers to settle at Madras. 


Letter to Fort 
St. George, 
1 Dec. 1725. 

Letter to Fort 
St. George, 
17 Feb. 1726. 

Letter to Fort 

St. George, 

6 Feb. 1732. 


The Court also expressed their satisfaction at 
the measures taken by the President and Council 
to give relief during the famine on the coast. 
Letter to Foit "We entirely approve of your laying in a stock of rice, 
25 Oct. 1738. by making a large purchase with twenty-one thousand pa- 
godas of our money, and are highly pleased that it was 
such an eminent relief to the inhabitants, as is set forth in 
both your letters. You may be assured that our being no 
gainers thereby, in such a calamitous time, is by no means 
displeasing to us. A watchful eye was necessary that those 
who delivered it out did not charge more than the prime 
cost. We hope a due care was taken in this important 
respect, although we don't find, after the first purchase was 
made in September, the rate fixed by any order of consul- 
tation, which we must say had been the regular method to 
prevent any of our servants, or black people in the ware- 
house, being knaves in grain, as it is wittily expressed in 
your letter. 

The Court desired full information regarding 
their European rivals, the French. 
Letter to Fort The most particular intelligence procurable concerning 
30 Dec 1737. those powerful competitors, the French, and their commerce, 
must annually be communicated to us, inserting the number 
of ships, tonnage, imports and exports, with the situation 
of their affairs, and our other rivals in trade upon the coast 
of Coromandel. 

The incursions of the Mahrattas having been 

severely felt, the Court observed that, 

Letter to Fort The Mahrattas invading, overrunning, and plundering 

20 Jan. 1741. the Coromandel coast, give us a most sensible and deep 

concern, more especially as they came within our bounds, 

and sent you a most insulting message, tacked to an 


Chap. I.] 




enormous and unheard-of demand, which you did well to Letter to Fort 

answer from the mouths of our cannon, and thereupon to 2 n ja^Tfll. 

put yourselves in the most defensible posture ; we hope that 

long before now the coast is well rid of them, and that the 

country powers have been roused to defend their subjects'' 

property against all such formidable enemies in future ; 

however that may be, you must by no means become 

tributary to, or suffer contributions to be levied upon us, 

either by the Moors or Mahrattas. 

The same principles guided the Directors in 
their instructions to the presidency of Bombay. 
Peace with the Mahrattas — preparations for defen- 
sive and not offensive measures — economy in the 
repair of fortifications, and limitation in the marine 

Para. 80. We shall now subjoin our sentiments on the con- 
duct and management of our affairs at Bombay; after 
hearing all persons who could give us any information of 
that presidency, or the state of affairs under it. 

82. You will see how much we approve of your measures 
in making peace with the Mahrattas, at the same time we 
perceive if it had not been for our express orders, you would 
not have judged so well for our interests, by being overcome 
with your false fears. 

83. This may intimate to you how acceptable it would 
have been to us, had you pursued the same measures with 
respect to all other Indian powers. 

85. We must also remark here our dissatisfaction at your 
employing none of our Council in the important transac- 
tions with the Mahrattas and others, for notwithstanding 
any pretended superior capacities in those you did employ, 
we do not reckon military men proper judges of these 
affairs. But rather that they have a strong bias in their 


Letter to 


1G Feb. 1741. 


174,1. minds by warlike notions which incline them to measures 
as are quite contrary to the true interest of a Trading 
Society, and not only so, but also to propagate and impress 
others with notions adapted to promote such ends : from 
whence is it else possible, that such principles should spring 
as you are possessed of, particularly that all our credit is 
gone, because we don't make that figure upon the coast as 
may make all people afraid of us, if they meddle with any, 
though they do not belong to us. 

86. So far indeed we will grant that it is prudent to 
suspect them, and to be upon your guard, but there is a 
great deal of difference in point of charges, betwixt a de- 
fensive and offensive state of war, which latter must al- 
ways be the case while we live in open war ; besides the 
continuing in such a state, compels our enemies to increase 
their forces, and makes them by degrees to become formida- 
ble. And what is the end of all ? why, we have a great deal 
to lose, and they have nothing of any value that you can 
take from them. 

87. We are sensible how much you have been out in your 
calculate of the charge you are putting us to. This matter 
should have been entered upon with more caution and 
judgment, for although we are very willing to be at the 
charge of fortifying all our settlements in order to secure 
both ours and the inhabitants 1 property living under our 
protection, yet this should be undertaken in a reasonable 
and practicable manner. Whether your works are such we 
are told there is some reason to doubt. 

88. In the third resolution you will see that we are utterly 
averse to the keeping up such a marine force as you require. 
We are unanimously of opinion, the force we now allow you 
is sufficient for your safety and our purpose, which in short 
is our own defence, and no farther. 



The present chapter may be viewed as intro- mL 
ductory to this work. It presents little to interest 
the general reader, but when connected with the 
extraordinary fact, that these limited settlements 
with a few hundred men are now the principal pre- 
sidencies of an empire containing one hundred 
million of native subjects, yielding a tribute of 
more than three millions annually to Great Britian , 
possessing an army of 200,000* rank and file, and 
that in its acquisition history records the bril- 
liant achievements of our most illustrious soldiers 
and distinguished statesmen, there is scarcely an 
Englishman who must not feel desirous of some 
information, as to the progressive steps by which 
such vast possessions have been obtained. A 
knowledge of the facts may also dissipate some 
of the unfavorable impressions which have been 
more or less imbibed, regarding the East-India 
Company, whose character has been gathered from 
Parliamentary documents prepared for a given 
purpose, rather than from a fair and candid state- 
ment of events as they arose. 

A brief reference has been made to the 
early history of Hindostan, and to those states 
which arose on the dismemberment of the Mogul 
power. The settlement of the first Europeans 
on the continent of India ; the incorporation of 
the East-India Company in ] 600 ; the esta- 

* In 1S26, the army consisted of 276,000. 


i 7 * 1 - blishment of a rival corporation ; the petition 
of the original Company to Parliament against 
the measure, and the ultimate union of both com- 
panies have been adverted to. Extracts have 
been given from the orders and instructions of 
the Court of Directors to their servants at this 
early period of the United Company, in the exact 
terms in which they were conveyed to India. 
Although quaintly expressed, they evince sound 
sense, and a shrewd knowledge of human nature. 
They repudiate the idea of the Company desiring 
to acquire territorial possessions : they also mani- 
fest a laudable anxiety to foster and protect the 
natives ; to infuse a spirit of economy in the pub- 
lic expenditure ; and that justice should be im- 
partially and duly administered. 



The East-India Company were now to con- 
tend with their most powerful European rival for 
political supremacy in India. 

Having advanced one million at three per cent, 
for the use of the public in 1744, the exclusive 
trade was continued to them until 1780. With 
the exception of their commercial concerns, and 
the treaty concluded by their representatives at 
Bombay with the Mahrattas in July 1739,* in 
order to preserve their respective rights in issuing 
passes, &c, few matters of moment occurred 
until the year 1746, when the effects of the union 
between France and Spain, which occasioned hos- 
tilities in Europe, and involved Great Britain, were 
soon felt in India. England had suffered so se- 
verely both by sea and land, that great dissensions 
were caused throughout the country ; but no 
sooner did the French attempt to aid the Pretender, 


* This treaty consisted of fourteen articles, and was executed 
in July 1739, between Mr. Law, governor of Bombay, on 
behalf of the Company, and Bajee Rao, the first minister of the 
most serene Sou Rajah. — Vide Treaties and Engagements with 
the Native Princes, &c. printed in 1812, p. 477. 



who had landed on the western coast of Scotland 
in July 1745, (encouraged as they had been by the 
supporters of the civil war,) than all differences 
were forgotten in the united energies of the people 
to support the crown, and oppose the influence of 
the French councils. 

Hostilities in India commenced between the 
French and English forces on the coast of Com- 
manded The former fitted out an expedition at 
Madras cap- Pondicherry, besieged, and took Madras ; an event 
tured * that entailed a loss of £180,000 on the Company. 

The enemy had so superior a fleet that the Com- 
pany petitioned the crown to strengthen the British 
naval force in India. In announcing the result, 
the Directors wrote : 

Letter to Para. 3. Upon our strenuous application His Majesty 

Hengai, hath been graciously pleased to send a strong squadron of 

men of war, under the command of the honourable Rear- 

Admiral Boscawen, with these our ships whereon this letter 

is sent. 

7. In case Rear Admiral Boscawen, or the commander in 
chief of His Majesty's forces, should require your assistance 
in attacking the enemy any where near you, we hereby 
order you to give it him to the utmost of your power, and 
to put under his command what military, marine, or other 
force you can possibly procure or spare consistent with the 
safety of your place. 

The Court animadverted upon the apparent want 
of firmness on the part of the Bengal government 
in not supporting the Company's interests against 
those of the French, whose success at Madras 



had filled the Council at Calcutta with fear for 1748. 
their own safety. 

Para. 2. It is plain from the apprehension you was under Letter to the 

x . _, Governor of 

on the loss of Madras, lest the French should destroy you Fort William, 
next, that you neither thought your own strength, though une ' ' ' 
supported at that time by six of His Majesty's ships, nor 
the neutrality of the country a sufficient security, and you 
at all times stand so much in awe of the country govern- 
ment that they easily and shamefully raise immense contribu- 
tions upon you at the Company's expense, though almost al- 
ways under pretence of abuses in carrying on private trade. 
6. If you do not prevail upon the Nabob to acquiesce in 
your setting about the works and fortifications without 
molestation, you are to let him know in a proper manner. 
You have our orders to make Calcutta as secure as you can 
against the French, or any other European enemy ; and that 
if he obstructs you in following those orders you are forbid 
to issue any money for trade, and must do the best you can 
to fulfil them. Tell him that you shall be sorry to be 
obliged to take such measures as may be ruinous to his 
revenues and the trade of the country in general ; and you 
may add/the King of England having the protection of the 
Company greatly at heart, as they may perceive by the 
strong force he hath sent to the East-Indies to meet the 
French, His Majesty will support the Company in what- 
ever they think fit to do for their future security ; for 
though a peace is now making with France, no one knows 
how long it may last, and when war is broke out it is always 
too late to make fortifications strong enough to make de- 
fence against an enterprising enemy n as appears from what 
happened at Madras, where strong works were erecting, but 
could not be half finished before the French attacked and 
took the place. 

vol. i. e Madras 


1748. Madras was restored to the Company by the 

madras. treatv f Aix la Chapelle ; and the Directors 
appointed an engineer-general for the purpose of 
superintending, and where necessary, in construct- 
ing fortifications both at Madras and Calcutta. 

The French, under Dupleix, took part in the 
contentions of two rival native chiefs, who re- 
spectively claimed the nabobship of the Carnatic. 
The point in dispute was, whether Mahomed Ali 
should be acknowledged Nabob. His pretensions 
were supported by the English, and opposed by 
the French. In order to terminate the hostilities 
in which we had been engaged during a series of 
years, a negotiation between M. Dupleix and 
Mr. Saunders took place at Fort St. George, in 

1754. January 1754. The negotiation was broken off, 
and matters were taken up by the governments 
of the two nations in Europe — Lord Holderness 
negotiating for the English, and M. Daveleur on 
the part of the French : the Duke of Newcas- 
tle and the French ambassador, the Due de 
Mirepoix, sharing in the conference and de- 
cisions when necessary. The little knowledge 
possessed by the parties in Europe, as to Indian 
affairs, rendering it utterly impossible for them to 
adopt any definitive arrangement, M. Godeheu was 
sent out to supersede M. Dupleix in the govern- 
ment of all the French possessions in India, and 
arrived at Pondicherry in August 1754. On the 
11th October, a suspension of arms was agreed 

upon ; 


upon ; and, on the 23d December, a provisional 1754. 
treaty, subject to confirmation in Europe, was Madra *- 
signed at Pondicherry. By that treaty, Mahomed 
Ali was left Nabob of the Carnatic. 

During the above-mentioned operations Cap- 
tain (afterwards Lord) Clive first displayed those 
extraordinary talents, which were so success- 
fully exerted in laying the foundation of our 
Indian empire. It is a singular coincidence, that 
the soldier who achieved such conquests, and the 
historian who recorded those achievements, were 
both appointed Writers by the Court of Directors Clive appoint- 

ri J ed a Writer. 

on the same day, viz. the 15th December 1742 ; 
Clive for Madras, and Orme for Bengal. Clive 
reached Madras in 1743. He appears to have had 
a strong predilection for a military life, for which 
he soon abandoned the civil service. He held the 
rank of ensign under Major Lawrence in 1747. 
The Court of Directors, in their letter to Madras 
of the 4th December 1747, alluding to the capture 
of that settlement, wrote : i( Be sure to encourage 
Ensign Clive in his martial pursuits, according to 
his merit : any improvement he shall make therein 
shall be duly regarded by us." Again, on the 
24th January 1753, adverting to the favourable 
change in their affairs on the coast, and to the 
services of Major Lawrence, they observed : 
" And here it is but justice to express the great 
regard we have for the merit of Captain Clive, 
to whose courage and conduct the late favourable 
e 2 turn 


1754. turn in affairs has been greatly owing, and he may 
Madras. De assured of our having a just sense of his ser- 
vices." After a series of gallant exploits, among 
which the siege of Arcot stood most prominent, 
he returned to England, on account of his health, 
in October 1753. He received the thanks of the 
Court of Directors, with other marks of their ap- 

At this period, the Directors pressed most 
strongly upon the attention of his Majesty's 
ministers, the great increase that had taken place 
in the French power in India. They pointed out 
the intelligence contained in their last advices from 
India, by which it appeared the French Commis- 
sioners were pursuing measures that would ine- 
vitably bring the whole of the Company's trade 
and their settlements on the coast of Coromandel 
under French influence. The Company repre- 
sented that they had exerted themselves in send- 
ing out men and military stores, and that they 
intended to send a further force and to exert 
themselves as far as a trading company could, but 
they felt it to be a duty which they owed to the 
public and themselves, to lay the facts before mi- 
nisters, in order that the same might be made 
known to the King. 

In March 1755, the Court having appointed 
Colonel Clive a member of the Madras council, 
he embarked with his family for India on board 
the Streatham. He first reached Bombay, arriving 



at the period when the pirate forces of Angria,* 1756. 
which had overpowered many merchant vessels, Bombay. 
received a severe check by a fleet under Commo- 
dore James, the commander of the Company's Pirates sub- 


ships of war in India. The Council at that pre- 
sidency were encouraged to follow up the success 
of the commodore by attempting a decisive blow 
against Gheria, the principal station of the pirates. 
A considerable fleet belonging to his Majesty, 
accompanied by Commodore James with the Com- 
pany's ships, the troops on board being commanded 
by Colonel Clive, accordingly stood into the river in 
February 1756, and burnt the whole of the enemy's 1756-7. 
fleet, compelling the garrison to surrender. 

By the treaty of the 12th October, which im- 
mediately followed these transactions, t Bancote 
and various villages were ceded by the Mahrattas 
to the Company in exchange for Gheria ; it being 
agreed that the Dutch should never be permitted 
to settle in the Mahratta dominions. Various 
arrangements were also entered into with sundry 
Rajahs on the Malabar coast, conferring certain 
privileges of trade ; and in 1759 a phirmaund was 
obtained from the Mogul, granting the government 
of Surat to the Company. 

In Bengal Seraje-ud-Dowlah had succeeded Bengal. 
his grandfather, Ally Verdy. He was of a cruel, cruelties of 
vindictive, and sullen disposition, of profligate 


* Fide page 33. f Vide printed Treaties. 


1756. habits, and entertained strong feelings of dislike 
Bengal. to the English. It was during his government 
that the massacre in the Black Hole at Calcutta 
took place ; one hundred and forty-six persons, 
including Mr. Holwell, the governor of Fort 
William, being incarcerated, in an intensely 
sultry night in the month of June, in a dungeon 
not twenty feet square — of whom not more than 
twenty- three came out alive the ensuing morning. 
Mr. Holwell was himself amongst the survivors ; 
notwithstanding the shock which his constitution 
received, he returned to England, and lived to 
the age of ninety. 

The Nabob, after that event, having evacuated 
Calcutta, a deputation was despatched to Madras, 
to solicit immediate and effectual succour : it 
ciive sent with reached Fort St. George on the 5th August.* A 
to Calcutta. detachment of nine hundred Europeans, with 
fifteen hundred sepoys, under the command of 
Colonel Clive, was immediately despatched to 
Bengal, accompanied by Admiral Watson, with a 
squadron then fortunately in the roads, consisting 
of the Kent, sixty-four (the Admiral's) ; the 


* Among the troops selected in the first instance, was the 
regiment commanded by Colonel Aldercorn, a king's officer, 
who declined serving under Clive or even to admit of his troops 
embarking for Calcutta, although before leaving England in 
1754, he applied to the Court of Directors for additional pay, 
when they resolved that his troops should be paid the same as 
the Company's troops, the Company paying the difference. — 
Court Papers, 21th July 1754. 


Cumberland, seventy, on which Admiral Pocock H56. 
hoisted his flag ; the Tiger, sixty ; Salisbury, fifty; Bengal - 
Bridgewater, twenty ; and a fire-ship ; together 
with transports for the troops. On the 27th 
December, all the ships and vessels had arrived 
at Fulta, and the next afternoon anchored ten 
miles below the fort at Budge-Budge, which 
Admiral Watson determined to attack the following 
morning. An ambuscade was planned to intercept 
the retreat of the garrison. It was directed by 
Colonel Clive in person, and proved the prelude 
to more serious operations. The Mogul general 
having marched from Calcutta to aid the garrison 
at Budge-Budge, with fifteen hundred horse and 
two thousand foot, an engagement took place. 
Monick Chund, the native commander, was obliged 
to retreat with his troops to Hooghly, and from 
thence to the Nabob of Moorshedabad. On the 
2d January 1757, at nine in the morning, the 1757 - 
Kent and Tiger anchored before the gates of Fort 
William, the batteries of which were silenced by 
eleven, the fort was shortly evacuated, and a 
detachment under Captain Coote took possession, Calcutta 

1 * retaken. 

with loud acclamations ; the British colours being 
once more hoisted on the ramparts. Mr. Drake and 
the former members of council were, the follow- 
ing day, solemnly reinstated by Admiral Watson.* 


* At a General Court, the 21st December 1757.— « Resolved, 
That the thanks of this General Court be given to Vice- Admiral 







1757. The orders given to the Admiral and Colonel 

BENGAr '- Clive when they left Madras were, to obtain full 
reparation of all injuries, and eventually to attack 
the tyrant in his capital. The Council, on the 
8th January, advised the Court of Directors of the 
recapture of Calcutta, and, on the 31st, of the 
ciive's powers, success against Hooghly. In the latter despatch, 
they adverted to the instructions from the President 
at Fort St. George, directing -that Colonel Clive, 
as commander of all the forces, might be furnished 
with plans for a treaty with the Nabob, having 
placed four lacs of rupees at his command, and 
empowered him to deviate from the whole or 
part of such plans, should he consider them to be 
inconsistent with the Company's interests. 

The Council at Calcutta appeared to view with 
strong feelings of jealousy the position in which 
Clive stood towards them by virtue of those 
instructions. They remarked, in their letter to 
the Directors, that " the authority the Select 
Committee at Fort* St. George have assumed, in 
appointing Colonel Clive commander-in-chief of 
the forces in Bengal, is so unaccountable, that we 
cannot avoid taking notice of it as an encroach- 
ment of the rights and trusts invested in us." 
Notwithstanding the important services Clive had 


Watson and to Vice Admiral Pocock, for their eminent and 
signal services to the Company." — "Resolved, That the thanks 
of this General Court be given to Lieut.-Colonel Robert Clive, 
for his eminent and signal services to this Company." 

Council at 
Calcutta ex 


already rendered, and the probability of the 1757. 
Nabob's advancing towards Calcutta, the Council Bengal. 
added, "we have required of Colonel Clive to 
recede from the independent powers given him 
by the Select Committee, but he has refused to 
surrender that authority ; we must therefore leave 
it to you, Honourable Sirs, to take notice of so 
injurious a conduct in your servants on the coast." 
It had been arranged that Clive should return 
to Madras, when the service on which he had been 
sent was completed. It is fully apparent that he ciive explains 

the reason for 

intended to have acted upon that arrangement, and retaining his 
he only departed from it in order to secure the P 
more important interests of the Company in Ben- 
gal. He wrote to the Court, on the 1st February, 
dated in camp near Calcutta, of the measures 
which he had adopted for placing the presidency 
in a proper state of defence. He alluded to the 
posture of affairs at Madras with M. Bussy, and 
observed, " All circumstances concur to make me 
wish a speedy accommodation in this province, 
both with the Nabob and the French, and it is my 
ardent desire to be enabled to embark for the coast 
this month, with some of the troops ; but it is 
hardly to be expected that matters will be suffi- 
ciently settled to admit of it. I am so sensible 
of the consequence the trade of this province is 
of to the Company, that I think I ought not, on 
any account, to draw off part of the troops while 
a fair prospect remains of a speedy and advan- 


1757 - tageous conclusion of affairs, either by force of arms 
b ENG al. or a treaty." Adverting to the powers which he 
possessed, and to the circumstance that the Coun- 
cil had left the negotiations to be transacted by 
the admiral and himself, he stated, " All proposi- 
tions the Council at Calcutta make will be attended 
to ; and, for my part, you may be assured that, 
notwithstanding my independent command, I shall 
endeavour to maintain a perfect harmony with 
them, and act throughout with their participation. 
They thought proper, some time ago, to demand 
a surrender of my commission as commander-in- 
chief, and that I would put myself under their 
orders. While I looked upon myself as obliged 
to refuse, in justice to those who had entrusted 
me with such powers, I represented that I had 
no intentions of making use of any independent 
powers, unless they induced me to it by necessity, 
for we had but one common interest to pursue, 
which was that of the Company, and as long as 
that was kept in view, they would always find me 
ready to follow their instructions." 

Colonel Clive's communication appears to have 
been governed by a just sense of the position in 
which he was placed, and to have manifested every 
disposition to act in harmony with the Council, 
who felt aggrieved at their power having been 
set aside. At such a juncture, all personal feel- 
ing should have been waived for the common 
good, especially in favour of an officer who had 




evinced qualifications admirably calculated to 1757. 
meet great emergencies, and whose foresight, Bengal. 
even on the occasion in question, appears to 
have given him a just claim to the confidence 
which had been reposed in him. 

Two days after the despatch of the foregoing Nabob ad- 

J L ° ° varices with 

letter to the Directors, intelligence was received his army to 

' ° Calcutta. 

at the Presidency, that the Nabob, on learning 
the fate of Hooghly, was highly exasperated, 
and had quitted his capital, marching at the 
head of his forces towards Calcutta. On the 
3d February, he offered to restore the settlements 
and to make reparation ; while, at the same time, 
the van of his army appeared in sight, passing 
towards Calcutta, immediately without reach of 
the cannon of the battery to the eastward. 

Coja Patras, the Armenian who brought the 
letter containing the offer, declared that the Na- 
bob would wait at Gunge until the conference 
was over. Two gentlemen were accordingly de- 
puted to meet him, and to carry an assurance of 
the satisfaction with which his pacific intentions had 
been received. The Nabob had nevertheless pro- 
ceeded on to Dum-Dum : the deputation imme- 
diately followed, and only came up with him in 
the town of Calcutta. On pointing out to him 
his departure from what had been arranged, and 
expostulating against his army remaining in the 
vicinity of the Presidency, he haughtily refused 
to withdraw his forces. 







Treaty with 
the Nabob. 

Colonel Clive, perceiving that he was merely 
attempting to amuse him with overtures ; con- 
sidering also the state of confusion in which 
Calcutta had already been plunged by the Na- 
bob's presence; and foreseeing the fatal conse- 
quences that would ensue from the entrance of 
his forces into the town, determined, notwith- 
standing the small number of troops he could 
collect, to attack the enemy the following morning 
before daybreak. The morning was foggy. Clive 
penetrated the enemy's camp, and for two hours 
did great execution ; but the fog not clearing off, 
he was unable to follow up his advantages. On 
the 6th February, the Nabob removed to Dum- 
Dum, where a treaty was concluded, by which he 
ratified all the privileges which the English had 
enjoyed, and engaged to make restitution of their 
various settlements at Calcutta, Cossimbuzar, and 
Dacca, with their money and effects. They were 
likewise permitted to fortify Calcutta. Perwan- 
nahs were granted for freedom of trade, and 
privileges to the Company's dustucks,* and they 
were allowed to erect a Mint at Calcutta. 

Intelligence was at this time received that the 
Affghauns had defeated the Mogul, that their 
leader had seized the government, assuming the 
title of Ahmud Shah, orders having been given 
for coins, in the province of Bengal, to be struck 


* Vide Printed Treaties, pages* ] to 6. 


in the name of the new Emperor, and that the 1757. 
Nabob was advancing to his frontier to make Bengal. 
an alliance with his neighbour, the Nabob of 
Lucknow, sometimes called Owd, for their mu- 
tual support in the then disturbed state of the 

There were strong reasons to believe that the French insti- 

gate the Nabob. 

French had instilled into the mind of the Nabob 
feelings of jealousy towards the English. Offers 
of neutrality had been made to them, at the com- ^22? 
mencement of the operations against the Nabob, 
to which they gave no reply. Colonel Clive in- 
tended to have attacked Chandernagore, but ab- 
stained, the Nabob having declared that it would 
be a violation of the treaty so lately concluded. 
A request was shortly afterwards received from 
the Governor of Chandernagore, for a neutrality 
within the Ganges, to which, at the instance of 
the Council, Clive assented. He announced the ciive contem- 

r-\ t\' i r\ plates return- 

result to the Court of Directors on the 22d re- mg to Madras. 

bruary, and stated, " All operations, therefore, 
are now over, and I may hope, in a few days, to 
take my passage for the coast, with the satisfac- 
tion of having left your affairs well re-established, 
and a general tranquillity in the provinces." 

Scarcely had this despatch been sent off for operations 
Europe, when it was found that the proposed French! e 
neutrality with the French had not been confirmed 
by the authorities at Pondicherry, and that the 
French were still intriguing with the Nabob. 



1757. Clive, in communication with Admiral Watson, 
Bengal. accordingly determined to attack Chandernagore : 
it being ascertained that the Nabob would not 
interfere, and that we were at liberty to act as we 
pleased towards our European rivals. On the 13th 
March, the fort was summoned : no answer being 
received the western battery was attacked the 
following morning. Various operations were car- 

surrend^ g0] e ried on until the 23d, when it surrendered. The 
Governor and Council of Chandernagore were 
removed to Chinsura. 

The Council being apprised that the Dutch not 
only harboured the French prisoners who had 
escaped, but also furnished them with money, 
guides, and even arms, Clive summoned all the 
French on parole to repair to his camp, and in- 
sisted that the late Governor and Council of 
Chandernagore should remove to Calcutta. The 
remainder of the French were required to reside at 
Chandernagore, or any where to the south of 

Nabob's offi- A few days after this occurrence, intelligence was 

eers and people # ° 

oppos? his go- received by Clive, then at the presidency, that Se- 
raje-ud-Dowlah's conduct had completely disgusted 
his principal officers, who, with a great majority of 
his people, were strongly opposed to his retaining 
the government of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa ; 


# Letter to the Court from Colonel Clive, camp near Chan- 
dernagore, 16th April 1757. 



they desired to know whether the Council would 1757. 
aid in the restoration of Jaffier Ally Khan, who Bengai - 
had also sent an agent to ascertain their feelings 
towards himself. It was apparent that the Nabob 
had become decidedly inimical to the interests of Nabob inimi- 
the English. He had espoused and protected English. 
M. Law and his party after the reduction of 
Chandernagore ; and it was also discovered that 
he was in correspondence with M. Bussy on the 
coast, to whom he had made considerable presents, 
with an invitation to march towards Bengal. He Reasons why 
had not acted up to his treaty with the Company, curredinhis 
— his army was hostile to him, and it was clear emg epos 
that, whether we took part or not in favour of 
Meer Jaffier, a revolution would ensue for the 
purpose of deposing Seraje-ud-Dowlah, whilst 
our abstaining from all interference might, in the 
peculiar situation we then stood, place the inter- 
ests of the Company in a very questionable posi- 
tion. Under these circumstances, with the means 
also of making their own terms with Jaffier, and 
obtaining some satisfaction for the inhabitants of 
Calcutta, in order to relieve them from their 
heavy losses in the capture, besides establishing 
the tranquillity of the country, and cutting off the 
influence of the French, the Council unanimously 
resolved to support the views of Jaffier Ally Khan. 
The terms of a treaty were accordingly drawn 
out, and a deputation appointed to wait upon him. 
The articles were discussed, agreed to, and signed 



1757. on the 19th May.* By this treaty Jaffier agreed to 
Bengal. pay the Company a crore of rupees for their losses 
in the capture of Calcutta, and to grant compen- 
sation to the English inhabitants for their loss in 
their plundered effects. All the land lying to the 
south of Calcutta, as far as Calpee, was to be 
under the zemindary of the Company, with other 

Various additional circumstances arose, which 
confirmed the report of Seraje-ud-Dowlah being 
in communication with M. Bussy. The march 
of the Company's troops was pressingly urged 
towards Moorshedabad, in support of Meer Jaf- 
fier. Colonel Clive proceeded on the 13th June, 
with all his forces, amounting to only 1 ,000 
Europeans and 2,000 sepoys, with eight pieces of 
cannon. On the 18th, he took the fort of Cutwa; 
on the 22d, in the evening, the army crossed the 
river; and on the 23d June, the battle of Plassey 
took place. The most decisive victory was ob- 
tained, by the prudence and valour of Colonel 
Clive, over the Nabob ; his army being dispersed, 
and he himself obliged to seek safety in flight from 
Moorshedabad. Meer Jaffier was in waiting at 
that city to receive Clive; who, after the first 
salutations were over, led him to the musnud ; 
and, placing him upon it, made obeisance to him 
as lord of the three provinces of Bengal, Bahar, 


* Vide Printed Treaties, pages 6 to 23. 


and Orissa, presenting, at the same time, a plate 1757. 
of gold coin. All the omrahs then present like- Be ngat 
wise paid their homage and presented gold, Meer 
Jaffier being afterwards publicly proclaimed as 

Intelligence having reached the Directors, in 
the month of July 1757, of the recapture of 
Calcutta, they determined to issue a new com- 
mission of government. The Court disapproved of 
the authority assumed by the Madras council, on 
the original deputation of Colonel Clive to Bengal, ^\ v e t a h p e p ^ad 
but resolved, notwithstanding the sentiments of the of the . G ^ veni - 

ment in Bengal 

Council at Calcutta being opposed to his indepen- |* the Court 
dent powers, to name Clive (if in Bengal) at the 
head of it. " Should he have returned to his 
station on the coast of Coromandel, as there was 
reason to believe would be the case, then the 
other parties" named were to take their respective 
stations and rank. 

In the month of September following, the 
Directors received a letter from Colonel Clive, 
dated the 22d of February, intimating that " he 
hoped, in a few days, to take his passage for 
Madras, leaving all in tranquillity in Bengal."* 


* This is corroborated by a letter which Colonel Clive ad- 
dressed to the Select Committee at Fort St. George, and by 
the application which he made to Admiral Watson, to place at 
his disposal a twenty-gun brig, to take such troops as were left 
to Madras, he intending to follow immediately the Nabob's en- 
gagements had been concluded, as the admiral and fleet were 
VOL. I. F not 



[Chap. II. 


revoked on 
Clive's sup- 
posed depar- 

Council at Cal- 
cutta request 
Clive to take 
the office of 


Clive accepts 
it, but expres- 
ses dissatisfac- 
tion at having 
been excluded 
by the Court. 

The Court, on the 11th November, accordingly 
revoked their commission of the 3d August pre- 
ceeding, and appointed those gentlemen members 
who, they concluded, would be at Calcutta. The 
custom which had prevailed was to be adhered to, 
viz. the three senior members taking the chair 
each successively for four months ; and a Select 
Committee, consisting of five of the members, was 
appointed to transact the affairs with the country 
governments, and to preserve secret such of their 
proceedings as they might judge expedient. 

These orders arrived at Calcutta in June 1758 ; 
on the 26th of which month, the Council resolved, 
in the peculiar state of affairs which detained 
Colonel Clive in Bengal, to request him to take 
upon himself the office of permanent President. 
Clive signified his assent to the Council in the 
following terms, viz. 

" Though I think I have cause to be dissatisfied 
with the Court of Directors, for laying me aside 
in their new form of government, without any 
reason assigned, after having named me as head 
of the General Committee in the letter of the 3d 
August last, yet, animated by the noble example 


not to sail for the coast till much later in the year. These points, 
though apparently trifling, are material, to shew that it was not 
a systematic course of predetermined conquest by which he was 
actuated, but that one circumstance arose after another, which 
led to the series of extraordinary and important events in which 
he so signally distinguished himself. 


of public spirit which you have set me, I have de- 1758. 
termined to waive all private considerations where 

1 Bengal. 

the general good is concerned ; and as there is no 
doubt that the government of a single person, in- 
volved as we are now with the country powers, 
must have infinite advantages over the compli- 
cated form of government established from home, 
I shall from that motive (though both my health 
and private concerns strongly require my return- 
ing to Europe) accept the offer you have done 
me the honour to make me, till such time as our 
employers have appointed a president in the usual 

It appears to have escaped Clive's recollec- 
tion, that the Court had every reason to con- 
clude he had returned to Madras, and that 
they were also ignorant of the circumstances 
which led to the battle of Plassey, as well 
as of the victory and its results. When, how- 
ever, the intelligence of his retention in Bengal, Court Naming 

& t & ' that Clive re- 

and of his subsequent proceedings, became known mainedinBen- 

gal appoint 

to the Directors, in the month of February 1758, him sole Pre- 
they anticipated the resolution of the Bengal 
Council ; for on the 8th of March they appointed 
him, in consideration of his eminent and repeated 
services, to be sole President and Governor of Fort 
William, in case it should suit his health and con- 
venience to remain in India; adding, " Colonel 
Clive, as governor, is, of course, to be added to 
the Select Committee appointed by our letter of 

f 2 " the 



[Chap. If, 



Clive thanks 
the Court for 
their nomina- 
tion of him. 

Supply of 
troops from 
Bengal to 

the 11th November, of which he is to be the chief 
and presiding member." 

These orders were issued and despatched from 
England three months before the resolution of the 
Council at Calcutta was passed, appointing Clive 

It was doubtless in ignorance of these facts, that 
Orme and Scrafton imbibed the notion, that the 
Home authorities manifested neglect towards Clive 
on the occasion in question. Whatever feelings 
might have been raised in Clive's mind, they appear 
to have been fully effaced by the receipt of the 
Court's orders of March, which he acknowledged 
from Calcutta in the following terms:* "Words 
can but poorly express the sentiments of my heart 
on receipt of your general address. Please to ac- 
cept, in return, all that the most lively gratitude can 
offer, and be assured my utmost endeavours shall be 
exerted in the service of those, who have done more 
justice to my merits than they can pretend to de- 

M. Bussy, the commander of the French forces 
on the coast, was involved in considerable difficul- 
ties with the principal Rajah of Golconda, who 
had sent letters to Colonel Clive, requesting the 
Company's aid. An expedition was despatched 
at the instance of Clive from Calcutta, in the 
month of October, under Colonel Forde, consist- 

# Letter from Colonel Clive to the Court of Directors, 30th 
December 1758. 


ing of 500 Europeans, artillery included, and 2,000 1758. 
sepoys, on board the Company's ships ; Mr. John- 
son, a Company's servant, being previously sent to 
the coast to prepare for the arrival of the troops. 

In urging a supply of troops from Europe, as 
necessary to secure the great acquisitions already Council urge 
made, the Council observed, " though matters are ! uppIy f 

7 * ■ o troops from 

perfectly quiet at present, 'tis hard to say how Eur °P e - 
long the calm will last ; and such is the nature of 
this country and government, that the only certain 
expedient of securing their friendship is, by keep- 
ing up such a force as will render it unsafe for them 
to break with us, and the large addition of terri- 
tory you have acquired by the late treaty has 
afforded the means of paying the troops." 

In December, the Council again urged on the 
Court of Directors the absolute necessity of send- 
ing a sufficient force, " in order to fix the great 
revolution that has been here brought about in 
their favour." 

In this infant state of the Company's political 
power, it is difficult to conceive the obstacles 
which they had to surmount in supplying the ne- 
cessary succours to enable their servants to main- 
tain their ground, amidst the jealousy and opposi- 
tion of European and native enemies. 

Owing to the war in Germany, and to the 

extended operations in North America, the Court 

of Directors could scarcely obtain any recruits.* 


• The records of the Company bear ample testimony to the 
anxiety manifested by the Court of Directors to meet the 


1758. Through the special interposition of the Duke of 
Bengal. Marlborough, then Master-General of the Ord- 
nance, the Court were enabled to secure three 
officers from the Royal Regiment of Artillery, to 
aid in fortifying the settlements against any future 

In reply to the remonstrances contained in sub- 
sequent despatches, in consequence of what the 
Council at Calcutta conceived to be the inattention 
on the part of the Court of Directors to their 
earnest requests for troops, the Court remarked :* — 

Had not his Majesty been graciously pleased to order 
a large military reinforcement to proceed to India this 
season, yours, as well as the presidencies of Fort St. George 
and Bombay, would have been unavoidably supplied by 
the Company in a very short degree : for so long as the 
demand for the national service subsists, it has been, and 
will be, almost impossible, notwithstanding our outmost 
efforts, to raise a number of recruits nearly adequate to 
what our service requires. 

The great number of forces granted by his Majesty, 
including those of this year, will enable us to give you a 
garrison of 2,000 Europeans during the war ; but, upon 
Mr. dive's sensible and judicious plan, the forces of our 
presidencies, at least of Madras and Bengal, will be in 
common aiding each other, as the different situation of 

repeated requisitions from Bengal for aid, both in troops and 
military stores. It was during the operations from 1758 to 
1764, that the first Lord Amherst, uncle of the present Earl, 
so highly distinguished himself as Commander-in-chief of the 
British forces. 

* Letter to Bengal, April 1760. 



affairs may demand. Under such a well-concerted union, 1758 

your garrison may at times be more numerous, or often no 
more than prudence may deem necessary for your protection 
against the natives, as happened when you determined upon 
that noble step of sending Colonel Forde to Mazulipatam. 
However, thus circumstanced and cemented, you will be a 
security to each other, and in all human probability out of 
the reach of danger. The forces that went abroad last 
year and are now destined for India, will demonstrate that 
your employers labour incessantly to strengthen and protect 
their settlements, the glorious successes at home having 
enabled the Government to grant us large succours, and we 
must gratefully confess the Ministry's care of this Company. 
The many remonstrances in almost every letter, would have 
been spared, if you had reflected properly on our cruel and 
dangerous situation ; our mercantile concerns always giving 
place to men and stores, when we could possibly obtain 
them ; ever distressed for tonnage, as we carry abroad for 
the Government seldom less than 1,000 tons annually, 
exclusive of their men and baggage. The heavy demorage 
incurred by ships detained by accident or otherwise in 
India ; the immense expenses at Madras, with very scanty 
returns ; your own charges very great, those of Bombay 
beyond all bounds; our settlements in Sumatra, at the 
same time, requiring large sums to put them in some state 
of security against enemies and dangerous neighbours ; if 
these considerations had been duly weighed, your inju- 
rious insinuations of being neglected must have been turned 
into praise, that your employers could do so much under 
such untoward circumstances. We ourselves look back 
with wonder at the difficulties we have surmounted, and 
which, with our contracted capital, must have been impos- 
sible, if the Proprietors, generously and without a murmur, 
had not consented to reduce their dividend 25 per cent. ; 




1758. but with all our economy and care, unless our servants 
studiously attend to lessen their charges and increase our 
advantages, the burthen will be too great for us to bear 
much longer. 

We agree with you, that there must always be a respect- 
able force kept up in Bengal, to secure our noble, and, we 
hope, improving acquisitions, and to guard against the 
machinations of our treacherous neighbours, who have 
already begun to shew themselves ; we are determined 
that the fixed garrison at Calcutta shall not be less than 
1,500 Europeans (the blacks at your own discretion); and 
with such a force, we apprehend, you will always influence 
and govern the affairs of Bengal. 

The public papers have lately had an article, importing 
that they write from Paris that the Comte UArtois, Le 
Berryer, and La Diligente frigates, were to sail the first 
fair wind from L'Orient for Asia, and were to be joined by 
five or six other ships from different ports on the coast ; 
and by private intelligence we further hear, that the regi- 
ment De Cambyse, one of the oldest and most complete 
battalions in France, was embarking on the said ships with 
the utmost expedition, in hopes of reaching India before 
our troops could arrive. 

We flatter ourselves, notwithstanding the expedition the 
French are using in fitting out this armament, that not 
only the first embarkation of our troops will reach India 
before the enemy, but likewise the second, which are now 
proceeding on the Bengal ships, and that his Majesty's 
ships will have also joined Mr. Pocock, so that we are not 
in pain on account of this further effort of the enemy. 

In December 1758, Colonel Clive, adverting to 
the probability of his quitting India in the early 
part of the following year, wrote to the Court: 

< 'After 


" After the battle of Plassey, I thought my com- 175a 
mission of commander-in-chief would have ended _ 


there, and that I might have returned to the coast, caves reasons 

* 1 -i-iiii 1 *° r not quitting 

and from thence to England ; but when intestine India. 
troubles arose, and the situation of your affairs 
required my remaining up the country, I did not 
hesitate to give my services where so justly due." 

In consequence of the large increase of the 
Company's forces, and the encouragement which 
was given by their European opponents to the 
desertion of their men, an Act was passed which 
empowered them to hold courts-martial for the 
punishment of mutiny and desertion.* 

Tranquillity prevailed in India ; but as Jaffier 
Khan, the Nabob, was advanced in years, the 
Council observed, "that it was impossible to say 
how long such a state of affairs might continue. 
His son is cruel, and every day's experience 
teaches us, that Musselmen will remain no longer 
true to their engagements than when a successful 
opportunity may offer to the contrary." The 
truth of this observation was fully established in 
the early part of the following year. 

M. Law had been traversing the country as far 
as Delhi, with the view of engaging the interest of 
the king in his favour. In February 1759, the 1759. 
Company were opposed to the Shazada, (the title ^Sh™** 

given Shazada - 

* The 9 Geo. II., which remained in force until the Conso- 
lidating Act of 1823, 4 Geo. IV. c.81. 



LChap. II. 



The Shazada 
retreats from 

given to the king's eldest son), who had fled from 
his father's court, and being joined by Law ad- 
vanced towards Patna. In order to arrest the 
progress of the prince and to support the Nabob, 
whose affairs, from his unfavourable position with 
his zemindars and the arrears of pay due to his 
troops were involved in great embarrassment, 
Colonel Clive took the field.* He marched with 
the utmost expedition to relieve Patna, which 
city, as well as the province of Bahar, was in 
danger. The Shazada had arrived at the river 
Caramnassa, which divides the countries of Oude 
and Bahar. Clive's operations were successful. 
The Shazada was compelled to retreat, the affairs 
in the provinces being brought to a satisfactory 

In the month of August, the Dutch having 
manifested a disposition to increase their influence 
by the introduction of a considerable number of 
European troops at Chinsura, Clive, in communi- 

* In the Council's letter to the Secret Committee of the Court 
of Directors, dated Fort William, 19th March 1759, it is said: 
"The President had a meeting with the Nabob the 9th instant, 
and after laying before him in the strongest manner the dis- 
content and disaffection of his jemautdars, and representing 
his treacherous behaviour towards them and non-payment of his 
people, motives which had encouraged the king's son to this 
present attempt, the most advisable measures were concerted 
for the success of the expedition; one of his principal jemaut- 
dars, Cossim Ally Cawn, set out for Salabad to take the com- 
mand of such part of the forces as were arrived there, with 
which he was to proceed directly for Patna." 


cation with the Nabob, detached a force under 1759. 
Colonel Forde against them, and at the same time Ben 
attacked their shipping, which had advanced up 
the river. Both operatious were successful ; the 
power of the Dutch was so reduced, that they 
agreed to an arrangement, by which they were to 
bear all the charges that had been incurred in the 
course of the operations. In December, the Di- 
rectors were advised of the grant of a jaghire to 
Colonel Clive in the following terms : " The 
Mogul having conferred on Colonel Clive the 
honour of a munsubdarry, the subah of these pro- 
vinces, from a sense of the very eminent services 
rendered him by Colonel Clive, particularly on his 
late expedition to the northward, has thought 
proper to present him with the annual rent of 
those lands which were before paid to himself 
agreeable to treaty. This will be more par- 
ticularly explained to you by a copy of the 
Nabob's phirmaund for this grant, entered after 
our consultations of the 6th September ; in con- 
sequence of which we have paid to Colonel Clive 
what was before paid the subah, and shall con- 
tinue in future to account with him instead of the 

Colonel Clive embarked from Calcutta for 
Europe in February 1760, and reached Portsmouth 


* The perwannah or grant was sent down by Mr. Hastings, 
then at Moradabaug, to the Council at Calcutta, 5th Sept. 1759. 
{Vide Consultations.) 







Clive proceeds 
to England. 

in July. On the 16th of that month he waited 
upon the Court of Directors, when he received 
from their Chairman the expression of their 
*' unanimous thanks for his many eminent and 
unparalleled services."* 

* In September following, the Proprietors marked their sense 
of Colonel Clive's services by a public resolution of thanks to 
him, Admiral Pocock, and Colonel Lawrence. They also re- 
solved unanimously, That the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, 
when they wait upon Vice-admiral Pocock, Colonel Clive, and 
Colonel Lawrence, will desire those gentlemen to give their 
consent that their portraits or statues be taken in order to be 
placed in some conspicuous parts of this house, that their emi- 
nent and signal services to this Company may be ever had in 



Mr. Holwell acted as president of the Coun- 


cil in Bengal until the arrival of Mr. Vansittart B^eedsT™ 


from Madras on the 27th July, who had been ap- 
pointed by the Court successor to Col. Clive. 

Mr. Vansitart had scarcely assumed the office 
of president before the province of Bengal was 
involved in another revolution. Its internal ad- J affier A,1 y , 

Khan deposed. 

ministration had been so wretchedly conducted by 
Jaffier Ally Khan, that the Council concurred in 
his removal. He was succeeded by his son-in- Khan, his son- 
law, Cossim Ally Khan. ceeds.' 

From the terms in which the event was an- 
nounced to the Court of Directors, they had every 
reason to conclude that the result would place 
their possessions in a state of permanent security. 
Besides a confirmation of the treaty with Meer 
Jaffier and the payment of the balance of his debt, 
possession was acquired of the countries of Burd- 
wan, Midnapore, and Chittagong, in full right, to Acquisitions by 
be managed as the Council might judge best for ompany - 
the interest of the Company. Other important 
points were enumerated, and the Council added, 



1760. '* We shall at present defer entering upon a detail 
of the prodigious benefit of these concessions." 
Referring to a narrative prepared by Mr. Vansit- 
tart, they observed that it was a document which 
might be esteemed " a perfect manifestation sent 
to the world of the propriety of the measures we 
have pursued, and of our adherence to the good 
of the kingdom."* 

In January following, Mr. Vansittart addressed 
the Court as to the state in which he found affairs 
in Calcutta, and the circumstances which led to 
Cossim Ally Khan being placed on the mus- 

I found, as I suspected, great difficulties to struggle with, 
from the general confusion and disaffection of the country, 
and the very low state of the Company's treasury. One or 
the other of these resolutions was immediately necessary — 
either to drop our connexions with the country government 
and withdraw our assistance : or to insist on more ample, 
as well as more certain provision for the support of the 
Company's expense. The first was dangerous and dis- 
honourable, as it would have given up the country and the 
Nabob a prey to a multitude of enemies. The other alter- 
native was resolved on. 

A favourable opportunity offered of procuring for the 
Company a cession of the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore, 
and Chittagong, and an agreement was entered into with 
all possible regard to our alliance with the Nabob. In its 
consequences, however it was the cause of his resigning the 


* President and Council to the Court of Directors, 10th 
November 1760. 


subadaree and retiring to Calcutta. This change happened 1760. 

without the least disturbance or a man hurt. The old 

Nabob was received in Calcutta with all the honours due to engal. 

his rank, and resides there with ease and security. The 

Company are in possession of the noble territory ceded to 

them, and we are in a condition of opposing, nay, in a fair 

way of getting the better of all our enemies. 

I know, however, that there are many who, led, some by 
ignorance, but more by prejudice, strive to overlook the 
necessity of the resolutions taken, the manner and circum- 
stances of their execution, and the advantages procured for 
the Company, and endeavour to represent the measures as a 
premeditated breach of treaties, and the consequences as 
hurtful to the Company, insinuating always that the Select 
Committee, who unanimously resolved on this plan, and 
particularly myself, had interested views. 

The same motives have been attributed, more 
or less, to each succeeding government, which has 
found extended measures terminating in new ac- 
quisitions essential to the support of the British 
interests in India. 

In the month of December, the Shazada again simzada again 
approached Bahar, when the Council determined ^TdTcom- 
to adopt vigorous measures for the purpose of J?°£j p a r n ° d " 
effectually expelling him from the borders of ^ e °aTed etel7 
that province. A considerable force, under the 
command of Major Carnac, completely defeated 
him on the 15th January, on the banks of the 1761. 
Servan, M. Law, with his detachment and guns, 
being taken prisoner.* Shortly 

* Mr. Warren Hastings was at this time called from Mo- 
radabaug to assist the president in his correspondence with the 
country government. 


1761. Shortly after these events, the death of the 

Bengal. king, by the hand of his vizier, Ghazee-ood-Deen, 

The . kin ? . opened the way for the Shazada to establish his 

murdered— the r J 

shazada sue- right to the throne. This prince, to whom we 
had so lately been opposed, now joined the English 
forces. Since his defeat, he had remained almost 
alone in the neighbourhood of Patna, and came 
over without any positive engagement. He was, 
however, assured that his person would be held 
sacred, and that he should be maintained in a 
suitable manner as long as he might remain with 
the Company's forces. 

The Abdallees,* previous to their retiring from 
Delhi, declared the Shazada king, by the name 
of Shah Alum. The Mahrattas, from whom he 
had chiefly to expect opposition, on account of 
their connexion with the vizier, had been so much 
weakened through their last defeat by the Abdal- 
lees, and so torn by divisions in their own govern- 
ment, as to be incapable of making any consider- 
able efforts. Shuja Dowla, the Nabob of Oude, 
whose territories then extended from the Caram- 
nassa to within a short distance of Delhi, had 
advanced as far as Benares to meet the king and 
attend him to his capital. 

The Bengal Council were averse to engage in 
an expedition that was to carry the troops so far 
as Delhi, particularly at a period when the con- 

* A tribe of Affghauns. 


templated expedition from Madras, against the i?6i. 
French islands, had deprived them of the aid of bengal. 
additional forces from the coast. They nevertheless 
felt that delay might materially injure a cause, 
which, if supported, would ultimately tend to the 
security and tranquillity of the Company's pro- 
vinces. They accordingly authorized Colonel Coote, 
then at Patna, to advise the king to proceed to 
join Shuja Dowla ; and to assure him, that if he 
should think it necessary to carry a detachment of 
our troops to Delhi, they should be sent to him 
immediately after the rains. 

Intelligence having been received by the Court 
of Directors of these proceedings, they wrote in 
the following terms to Bengal :* " If your endea- 
vours for settling the Shazada upon the throne of 
his ancestors could be carried into execution without 
risk to the Company and at a moderate expense, 
it may secure him in our interest, and be the means 
of settling the peace and quiet of the kingdom ; 
but, as a transaction of this kind depends upon 
many circumstances and unforeseen events, and 
you have most probably already embarked in this 
undertaking, we are entirely at a loss to give you 
any directions, or even our sentiments thereupon, 
in any other than these general terms : that we 
hope you have acted, and will act, with the utmost 
caution, and on considering all circumstances, 


* 30th September 1761. 
VOL. I. G 


1761. w ith that prudence and attention which an affair 
Bengal. Q f suc y l a ser i ous anc [ important nature re- 

" This is the third revolution in Bengal, wherein 
the very being of the Company has been, and from 
their consequences may still be, at stake. Your 
advancing Jaffier Ally Cawn to the subahship, in 
the room of Suraja Dowla, was undoubtedly a 
necessary measure, as well for the good of the 
country in general as the interest of the Company 
in particular : your afterwards deposing Jaffier 
Ally Cawn, and settling Cossim Ally Cawn in his 
room, we hope was done also with the same view. 
Upon this presumption and confidence, that no 
other motives whatsoever had any influence upon 
you, we must look upon the measures pursued 
upon this occasion to be unavoidable. At the same 
time, we cannot help observing, that it is to the 
great regard the Company have always had to a 
faithful observance of their agreements, that they 
acquired, and have hitherto preserved, a reputa- 
tion with the natives of India : we could have 
wished, therefore, the situation of affairs would 
have admitted keeping terms with Jaffier Ally 
Cawn, that even the least handle for a pretence 
might not have offered to prejudiced people to 
make use of, to throw any reflections upon this 
transaction.' ' 

The king did not wait for the troops, but pro- 
ceeded towards Delhi accompanied by Major 



Carnac, who was deputed to escort him to the i76i. 
borders of the provinces. The Nabob of Oude Bengal - 
who had been constituted by the king his vizier, 
supplied him with considerable pecuniary aid. 
His majesty, on the application of Major Carnac, 
promised to grant sunnuds for the Company's 
privileges and possessions in Bengal, whenever 
a proper tribute should be remitted. "The king 
also offered to confer on the Company the dewan- Dewanee 

t» i i • • r-i-i- offered to the 

nee of Bengal, on condition of their being answer- company, but 

r ■>? i i/^«i declined by 

able tor the royal revenues ; but as the Council council. 
were sensible that their acceptance of the post 
would cause jealousy and ill-will between them 
and the Nabob, they thought it more prudent 
to decline it. This determination was fully ap- 
proved by the Court of Directors, " If we can 
secure our present possessions and privileges in 
Bengal, preserve the peace of the province and 
the Nabob in the government, and prevent the 
borders from being invaded or disturbed by 
the neighbouring rajahs or other powers, we 
shall be fully satisfied, and think our forces 
judiciously employed in answering these princi- 
pal points : for we are by no means desirous of 
making further acquisitions, or engaging our 
forces in very distant projects, unless the most 
absolute necessity should require it, to answer one 
or other of the political views afore-mentioned. 
Your refusal of the dewannee of Bengal, offered 
by the king, was certainly right, and we are well 

g 2 satisfied 



[Chap. III. 



with the 

satisfied with the just and prudent reasons you 
give for declining that offer." 

The Council had at this time reason to believe 
" that some busy persons had been attempting to 
foment jealousies between them and the Nabob, 
Cossim Ally Cawn, who continued in Bahar." 
In order to discover the authors, and to preserve 
tranquillity, Mr. Hastings was deputed to wait 
upon the Nabob. Mr. Amyatt and some other of 
the members of the Council proposed that the 
instructions to Mr. Hastings should contain a 
clause authorizing him to demand of the Nabob 
the twenty lacs of rupees, which it was asserted 
had been offered by him when the treaty was 
made, as a present to the gentlemen of the Select 
Committee. Mr. Vansittart refused to concur in 
this demand. It was nevertheless made, but was 
rejected by the Nabob, who declared that he had 
fulfilled the terms of the treaty, and that he placed 
full confidence in the Company, on whom he 
entirely depended. The Directors, on being ac- 
quainted with the circumstance, stated that they 
were at a loss to comprehend upon what grounds 
the majority of the Council, contrary to the remon- 
strances made by the President, could venture to 
authorize Mr. Hastings to demand of the Nabob 
twenty lacs of rupees, upon the bare pretence 
that he had made an offer of the sum to Mr. Van- 
sittart and the Select Committee, at the time of 
making the treaty for his accession, which had 



been then so properly and so honourably refused. 1762. 
" We rejoice (observed the Court) at the just and b *ngal. 
spirited refusal he gave to that unwarrantable 

Circumstances having arisen to induce the Pre- 1763> 
sident to visit the Nabob, he proceeded to Mon- President 

visits the 

gheer, where the subject of the disputes between Nabob. 

the Company's gomastahs and the officers of 

government was attempted to be arranged. It 

was apparent that the Company's officers, out of 

reach of immediate inspection, had exercised an 

almost absolute authority, under the sanction of 

the English name, carrying on their business by 

violent and inequitable means, and refusing to 

pay any duties. The President felt that the Differences on 

, T . , , . , . , , . , account of the 

Kings phirmaunds were never intended to enable inland trade, 
the English to engross the whole inland trade of 
the country, to the prejudice of the natives, and 
he accordingly made such a settlement with the 
Nabob as appeared reasonable. 

The native officers belonging to the Nabob 
presumed upon these concessions, and greatly 
abused the authority with which they were 
invested, being guilty of such violence and op- 
pression as to call for some restraining power. 
Various representations were made to the Nabob, 
and suggestions offered for the purpose of effect- 
ing an amicable arrangement : but he refused to 


* Letter to Bengal, 13th May 1763. 






appointed to 
prevent a rup- 
ture with the 

Nabob seizes 
some arms at 

Measures con- 
templated in 
event of a 

accede to any of the propositions, or to make 
satisfaction for the injury inflicted by his officers, 
complaints of which were received by the Council 
from all quarters. It was at last intimated to him 
by the Council, that a perseverance in refusing all 
redress would inevitably lead to an open rupture. 
To prevent, if possible, things coming to extremi- 
ties, a deputation, consisting of Messrs. Amyatt 
and Hay, was sent to the Nabob, for the purpose 
of explaining more fully the various points in 
dispute. They set out from Moorshedabad on the 
25th April, and reached Mongheer on the 12th 
May. The Nabob received them with the usual 
formalities ; but their representations proved 
wholly unavailing. The Nabob demanded that 
our troops should be withdrawn from Patna to 
Mongheer, and he seized five hundred stand of 
arms, sent for their use, until his demand had been 
complied with. 

These circumstances being made known to the 
Council at Calcutta, the majority determined 
upon a course of proceeding in case of a rupture, 
and sent orders to the Chief and Council at Patna, 
in such an event, to take possession of that city, 
provided they thought themselves strong enough, 
and if not, they were to take a secure position 
until supported by the arrival of troops ; for which 
purpose, Major Adams would be ordered forthwith 
from Calcutta. 

On the 11th June, the intelligence from the 



deputation at Patna left no room to doubt that 1763. 
hostilities would take place. On their delivering Bengal - 
a letter from the President to the Nabob, repre- 
senting the unlawfulness of seizing the arms, and 
that we could not withdraw our troops from Patna 
on the footing of a preliminary demand, the Nabob 
declared " there was war ; " adding, that he knew 
Mr. Ellis, the chief of Patna, was his avowed 
enemy, and would employ the troops to the detri- 
ment of his affairs. Whatever might be charged 
to the Nabob's indisposition to come to terms of 
accommodation, it is clear that the opinion of the 
Court of Directors was strongly adverse to the 
conduct of Mr. Ellis and other servants, in the 
matter of the inland trade, as they were dismissed 
the service by orders from home when these cir- 
cumstances became known. 

On the 20th June, the several members of the 
Council submitted their views as to a future plan 
of government, should a revolution take place. 

Intelligence was shortly received, that the de- Deputation 
putation, passing the river by Moorshedabad, on NabobToMeL 
their return to Calcutta, were fired upon by orders 
from the Nabob. Mr. Amyatt, who had been at 
the head of the deputation, was with many others 
killed, and the rest taken prisoners. 

Previously to this catastrophe, accounts had Attempt to 
reached Mr. Ellis at Patna, that the Nabob was M^EiUan/ 
determined upon hostilities. That gentleman, in 
conjunction with Captain Carstairs, immediately 




[Chap. III. 



Meer Cossim 
deposed, and 
Jaffier Ally 
Khan again 
raised to the 

Enemy de- 

planned an attack upon the Mogul guard, for the 
purpose of seizing the city. Early on the 25th 
June, they were in entire possession for four hours : 
but the project failed, through the sepoys having 
dispersed for the purpose of plundering. The 
Nabob's governor regained the city, the English 
were routed, and Mr. Ellis, Mr. Lushington, and 
many other gentlemen, taken prisoners. When 
the council at Calcutta were apprized of these 
events, they determined on deposing Meer Cossim. 
On the 7th July 1763, Jaffier Khan, who had been 
residing at Calcutta since the accession of his son- 
in-law, was proclaimed, and war declared against 
Cossim, who retired towards Mongheer. 

Meer Jaffier set out to join the army, after 
concluding a treaty on the 10th July, ratifying 
former privileges, and agreeing to maintain a 
given number of troops, a resident from the 
Governor and Council was to reside with him, 
and a person on his part at Calcutta, to hold 
communication with the Governor and Coun- 
cil.* On the 19th July, Major Adams engaged 
the enemy, and took the fort of Cutwa. On the 
2d August, a very severe battle took place near 
Sooty. The stand which the enemy made was 
" uncommon for native troops, having been en- 
gaged for nearly four hours." The siege of Raj- 
mahal was commenced on the 29th August, and 


* Printed treaties, page 32. 


continued to the 5th September, when the assault 1763. 
took place with little loss, and the fort surrendered. Bengal - 
Having exerted every endeavour to preserve offers to in- 

,,. r i -n i • i i • ^uce Cossim to 

the lives of the English gentlemen who were in spare the lives 
the possession of Cossim, Major Adams offered rejected."^ 
the latter permission to retire from Mongheer to 
Rotas, whither he had moved his family and ef- 
fects, if he would release his prisoners. 

The offer was of no avail : the army accordingly 
pushed on to Mongheer, which they took on the 
J 1th October ; and here they learned, that Meer 
Cossim had caused all the English to be murdered 
through the instrumentality of Sumroo, a rene- 
gade French soldier, and that Cossim had fled to 
Patna. Thither the English force hastened, and 
took it by storm on the 6th November. 

During the operations against the Nabob, the King and 
king and Shuja Dowla advanced with their army proffer aid to 
within a day's march of Benares, and sent a detach- troo P s. mi)an 
ment, under one of their principal officers, to that 
city. Shuja Dowla wrote to Jaffier Ally Khan 
and the President, and likewise to Major Adams, 
that he was coming with an intention of assisting 
our arms against Cossim. He received no encou- 
ragement to fulfil his intentions, being informed 
that our forces were more than sufficient to defeat 
all our enemies : and all that we desired was his 
securing Cossim, should he make his flight in that 

Mr. Vansittart addressed the Court regarding the Presidents 

hostilities viewofaffairs ' 


176a hostilities with the Nabob, before he had received 
Bengal. tne accoun ts of the massacre : "I have been dis- 
appointed in my hopes of the country's remaining 
in tranquillity, until your pleasure concerning the 
demands made by the Council upon the Nabob 
could be known. 

" Mutual jealousies and suspicions had gained 
so much strength, that not a day passed, after 
Messrs. Amyatt and Hay had opened their com- 
mission to the Nabob, without some aggravation 
of the disputes. Mr. Ellis, whom I have never 
scrupled to call the head of the party which he 
formed the moment of his arrival in Bengal, and 
has carefully nourished ever since, had at this 
time a sure majority in the Council, and I en- 
deavoured in vain to restrain the violence of their 
measures. Himself, by his station in Patna, had 
it daily in his power to create animosities be- 
tween the Nabob's people and ours, and by his 
representations to the Board, of designs which I 
believe never existed, having got into his hands 
an authority to act as he pleased, in a very few 
days after he began the war by the attack of the 
city of Patna." 

Mr. Vansittart took no part in the revolution. 
As long as he remained, he resolved to support 
Jaffier Khan in the government, with the same 
steadiness as he had Cossim ; "for it was the 
station, and not the person," he regarded as 
connected with the Company's interests. He, 



nevertheless, apprehended that the advanced age 1? 63. 
of the Nabob, his infirmities, and a habit of indo- Bengal * 
lence, would prevent his taking the necessary 
measures for regulating the several branches of 
his government. 

The President then offered various suggestions, 
which he thought calculated to place the inland 
trade upon a proper footing, and pointed out re- 
medies for preventing a recurrence of the contro- 
versies that had arisen in the Council, " which 
had occasioned great detriment, expense, and loss 
of reputation." 

By a subsequent letter to the Secret Committee Defects of sys- 

■' . tem which had 

of the Court of Directors, dated in December, it led to these 

. . proceedings 

appeared the system was such, that it was with pointed out. 
great difficulty a friendship could be maintained 
with any Nabob ; that our connexions in the 
country were so extended by the pursuit of private- 
trade through a number of new channels, in distant 
parts of the country, and the authority of our 
agents was so overgrown by the influence they 
derived from the English name, that the Nabob's 
fouzdars and collectors could not exercise the 
duties of their offices, where any English agent 
or gomastah, or any merchant or inhabitant of 
the country dealing with them, was concerned. 
These circumstances occasioned continual com- 
plaints from the Nabob, couched in terms similar 
to those which had been used by his predecessor, 




[Chap. III. 


Meer Cossim 
seeks refuge 
with Shuja 

On the other hand, if full powers were given to 
the Nabob's officers, nine out of ten abused it, 
totally obstructing the business of the English 
gomastahs. Thus the two governments were 
continually clashing. 

" It was impossible for a friendship to subsist 
long; upon the whole, therefore (observed Mr. 
Vansittart), I must give it as my opinion, that 
our connexions in this country are at present on 
a point where they cannot stand ; they are either 
too great or too little." 

There was much truth in this observation. It 
was impossible for us to recede without abandon- 
ing the acquisitions we had already made : it was 
equally apparent, that we could not maintain the 
position we had taken without extending those 

The same remark will be found to apply with 
increased force, as the causes are traced which 
led to the progressive enlargement of our Indian 
possessions, until they reached the limits, forming 
the natural boundaries of that vast empire, which, 
by a series of extraordinary events, is now sub- 
jected to the British rule. 

Meer Cossim, unable to make any further stand 
against our troops, fled into the territories of 
Shuja Dowla. The Vizier, notwithstanding his 
profession of aid, and the expectation of the 
Council that he would have made Cossim prisoner, 
suffered him to proceed without interruption 



through Benares and Allahabad, to the banks of 1763. 
the Jumna, where the king and vizier were Bengal. 
encamped, by whom he was favourably received. 
The Directors expressed their earnest desire that 
Mr.Vansittart, who had intimated his intention to 
quit the presidency, should continue until peace 
was established, as they reposed the most perfect 
confidence in his ability, discretion, and attention. 
They also pointed out the impressions which 
weighed with them in taking a favourable view of 
the conduct of Cossim, and of those which were 
adverse to Meer Jaffier, whose incapacity, cruelty, 
and perfidy, had been so fully experienced. 
" There is, besides, an obvious impropriety in 
setting up, pulling down, and again restoring, the 
same man, which cannot fail to be represented to 
the disadvantage of the Company."* 

Shuja Dowla, being desirous of entering into 
an engagement with the Company, was informed 
that no treaty or alliance of friendship would be 
entered into with him, until Meer Cossim was 
delivered up, or brought to justice for his cruelty. 
The king and the vizier, manifested determined Kingandshuj* 
hostility towards the English. In March, they to English. 
moved with considerable bodies of horse and foot 17(54. 
to Benares, crossed the Ganges, and marched 
to the Caramnassa. Major Carnac, who had 
advanced to the banks of the Soane, not hav- 

* Court's Letter to Bengal, February 1764. 


1763. ing a sufficient force of cavalry, fell back upon 
Bengal. p a tna, to secure supplies. The enemy, encou- 
raged by this movement, advanced from the 
Soane on the 3d May, and, in different bodies, 
attacked our army from nine in the morning till 
near sunset ; but, finding themselves repulsed in 
every quarter, they drew off. On the 23d, Shuja 
Dowla re-crossed the Soane. 

A reinforcement, consisting of his Majesty's 
Major Munro 89th regiment, arrived from Bombay in June, 
under Major (afterwards Sir Hector) Munro. That 
officer, in virtue of his rank in the King's service, 
became commander-in-chief of the army in Bengal. 
He immediately prepared to take the field. The 
enemy made various overtures ; but none that 
could be relied upon ; nor could the Council treat 
for peace without running the risk of encouraging 
Shuja Dowla in his hostile intentions, by giving 
him too high an opinion of his own strength. 
The government, therefore, continued to insist 
upon his retiring out of the limits of the provinces, 
and delivering up Sumroo, who was the execu- 
tioner of the massacre at Patna, hoping that, by 
forcing him to accede to such terms, the supe- 
riority of the Company's arms would be sufficiently 
established, to deter the other chiefs of Hindostan 
from any attempt to invade our territories. 

Mr. Vansittart quitted Calcutta in November 
1764, being succeeded by Mr. Spencer. 


The king, Shah Alum, although he had accom- 1764. 
parried Shuja Dowla in his expedition in May, Bengal. 
professed his disapprobation of the measure, overtures from 
When the Nabob, Meer Jaffier, came down to ^rejSatd. 
Calcutta, in the month of September, he had 
with him Shatab Roy, who was formerly employed 
in negotiations between the Council and the king, 
then the Shazada. Shatab Roy brought letters 
from the king and Shuja Dowla, expressive of a 
desire to enter into a friendly negotiation. The 
Council felt that no reliance was to be placed on 
the sincerity of the vizier, who entirely ruled the 
king ; they therefore determined that Major Munro 
should pursue the most vigorous measures, and 
attack the enemy the first opportunity. 

It must here be remarked, in justice to Munro, 
that the army, which he found in a state of 
mutiny on his arrival in June, had, by his de- 
termined and vigilant conduct, been brought back 
to a comparative state of discipline; but not until 
a battalion of sepoys, who had marched off with 
their arms, were secured, twenty-seven of whom 
were tried by a court-martial and executed, ac- 
cording to their sentence, the battalion being 
broke with infamy.* 


* This mutinous spirit was traced to the revolt which had 
occurred on the 11th February, and had been occasioned by the 
erroneous impression that there was an intention of stopping 
the donation promised by the Nabob. It was attributed to a 
body of Frenchmen, consisting of 150, who had entered the 
Company's army. 


1764. After great v exertions, the army crossed the 

Bengal. Ganges above the Soane, and took post on the 
bank of that river, from whence it marched to- 
wards the enemy, who remained with their whole 
force at Buxar. A general engagement took place 
vizier defeated on the 23d of October. Our troops gained a most 

and flees to . 

Allahabad. complete and decisive victory. Six thousand of 
the enemy were left dead on the field of battle, 
one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon being cap- 

Shuja Dowla fled towards Allahabad. The 
king and Beny Bahadre, the principal officer of 
Shuja Dowla, were at Benares ; they made over- 
tures to know what terms would be accepted. 
They were informed, "the delivery of Sumroo, 
and the retention by us of the country as far as 
Benares, to defray the charge of the war." This 
cession was required, to convince all the native 
powers of the success of our arms in a war unjustly 
commenced against us, more than for any re- 
venue which it might yield. " We do not," 
observed the Council, "wish to extend our con- 
nexions beyond what may appear necessary for 
securing the future tranquillity of these provinces, 
which is the first object of our consideration." 

to e s r hu S, a°DovSa ^ ne P r °ff ere d terms were rejected by Shuja 

rejected by him. Dowla. 

Thekhigjoins The king, who had been kept in a state of 

Major Munros " r 

army. bondage by the vizier, being once more master of 

his actions, joined the army under Major Munro, 



who entered upon a negotiation, according to in- 1764-. 
structions from the Council at Calcutta, with Bengai - 
his Majesty, as to the charge of the war and the 
cession of the country as far as Benares, which 
was to have been made by the vizier Shuja 
Dowla. A phirmaund was executed by the king, 
on the 29th December 1764, assigning the country 
of Ghazeepore and the rest of the zemindarry of Treaty with 

r J the king, 

Rajah Bulwunt Sing, the Company engaging to shah Aium. 
put the king in possession of Allahabad and the 
rest of the countries belonging to the Nizamut of 
Shuja Dowla.* Munro proceeded towards Alla- 
habad, but failed in reducing that fortress through 
the ill-conduct of the sepoys, who were seized 
with a sudden panic, and fell back at the assault. 

The vizier attempted to get into his rear, for Operations of 
the purpose of cutting off communication with his 
boats and carrying off the king. The attempt 
was unsuccessful. Munro converted the siege 
into a blockade, and returned with the remainder 
of the troops to Benares. 

The vizier, after this movement, having ad- 
vanced towards Munro, the latter withdrew the 
troops before Allahabad, in the hope of bringing 
the vizier to action. In this he was disappointed; 
the two armies remained nearly stationary from De- 
cember till 1764 February in the following year.f 


* Printed Treaties, page 37. 
f Major Munro returned, at this period, with part of his regi- 
ment to England. The President and Council, on the occasion 

VOL. I. H 




Death of Nabob 
Jaffier Ally 
Khan, and 
succession of 

During this interval, Sir Robert Fletcher suc- 
ceeded to the command. An engagement shortly 
followed. Allahabad and Chunagur surrendered 
on the 11th February, when Shuja Dowla conti- 
nued his retreat towards Lucknow. His affairs 
were in great disorder, and his people disaffected; 
but he made no further overtures. The Council 
determined to pursue their view of expelling 
him, and putting the king in possession of the 

Jaffier Ally Khan died on the 5th February, and 
was succeeded by his eldest son, Nazim-ood- 
Dowla, then only sixteen years of age. The con- 
duct of his affairs was, at the instance of the 
Council at Calcutta, confided to Mahommed Reza 
Khan, the Nabob of Dacca, Nazim-ood-DowIa 
being apprized that he held the government by 
the influence and authority of the Company. 

The views of the president, Mr. Spencer, and 
his Council, being directed to the establishment of 
the Company's authority as paramount to every 
other, the Nabob was discharged from maintain- 
ing any troops for the protection of the provinces, 
those of the Company being substituted : he was 
to make no application for sunnuds but through 
the President and Council j nor to engage any 


of his departure, strongly recommended to the Court of Direc- 
tors to procure for his eminent services some special mark of 
his Sovereign's favour. 


European in his service, and was to dismiss any 1765. 
who might be with him. It was observed, that Bengal - 
as Meer Jaffier had been appointed and raised 
to the soubahdarry by the Company's forces, and 
had been supported in it by their influence alone, 
the Council could not allow that any right of 
succession or the nomination could rest with 
him or his family, till their acquiescence and 
confirmation had been obtained. The same force 
that was employed to raise the father, was 
to be called forth to support the son. " If," 
observed the Council, " this does not give us 
some right to a nomination, thrice already as- 
sumed, we know not what can." The native go- 
vernment had been almost subverted. Different 
parties adhered to a different sovereign, though 
all joined in oppressing the man whom the Coun- 
cil considered as such : and they naturally ask, 
" shall we, who have^lost so many lives in sup- 
port of privileges heretofore held by grants from 
Delhi, but held only by our arms, yield up our 
authority in Bengal, and sacrifice, at once, all 
we have been contending for ? To admit the 
king's right of confirming, while we support a 
man by force in the Nizamut, would be the 
grossest absurdity. If we look, we shall find they 
have been forcibly obtained. The oppression and 
violence of the Government in 1756, forced us 
into a share of their affairs, very contrary to our 
inclination ; and as we alone, whatever glossing 

h 2 we 


1765. we may put upon it, support the present govern- 
Bengal. ment in the family against the king's inclination, 
having been in arms against the king himself in 
support of it, we consider that we have as good a 
right to take as large a share as will answer our 
principal ends, * security to our trade and posses- 
sions,' as any other people, who are as much 
usurpers as we : and there is no doubt we have 
more influence to obtain the sunnuds, if we choose, 
than any other people whatever."* 

The king, in virtue of the treaty of December, 
had gone to reside at Allahabad. The Council, 
after taking steps to put him in possession of Shuja 
Dowla's country, and making such arrangements 
as would enable him to maintain himself without 
further aid, determined to withdraw to the frontier 
of the Company's provinces. 

The war with Shuja Dowla had been one not 
of choice, but of necessity. It was wished to have 
retained him as a barrier between the Company 
and the other powers, even after the battle of 
Buxar ; but, as he continued obstinate, the only 
alternative was to set the authority of the king 
against him, in order to convince the empire at 
large, that the Council were determined not to de- 
stroy the Mussulman power, as had been artfully 
insinuated. In all their proceedings, the Council 
" did not lose sight of the reluctance expressed 

* Secret Consultations, 20th February 1768. 


by the Court of Directors to new expeditions or 1765. 
distant acquisitions."* Bengal. 

Shuja Dowla had retired from Lucknow, and 
left the province of Oude to seek refuge and aid 
amongst the Rohillas. 

On the coast of Coromandel, the siege 1759. 
of Fort St. George by the French was raised in cTrnatic. 
February 1759, by the appearance of the English 
fleet off Madras and the force under Major Brere- 
ton. Masulipatam was taken by Major Forde ; 
but the attempt against the French settlement of 
Pondicherry was unsuccessful, and M. Lally laid 
siege to Trichinopoly. His progress was, how- 
ever, checked by the operations of Colonel Coote, 
who invested and took Wandewash. M. Lally, 
alive to the importance of Wandewash, made 
every effort to recover it. A long and obstinate 
engagement took place, in which the French were 
completely defeated, General Bussy and many 
other officers being made prisoners by Colonel 
Coote, who followed up his victory by the captures 
of Chittaput and Arcot. 

During these operations on shore, Admiral 
Pocock defeated the fleet of M. D'Ache, although 
greatly superior in ships and guns. The engage- 
ment was extremely severe, eight of the English 


* Vide letter from Mr. Spencer to the Court, 14th March, 





Various forts 

Measures to 
promote the 
siege of Pondi- 

ships having at one period withstood the fire of 
the whole of the French fleet, consisting of six- 
teen ships. The arrival of Admiral Cornish, who 
joined Admiral Pocock, gave the English a de- 
cided superiority in the Indian seas. 

The army, after the surrender of Arcot, moved 
towards Pondicherry, to cut off supplies, while 
Admiral Cornish blockaded it by sea. The dis- 
trict of Trincomalee was reduced by Captain 
Smith. On the 5th March, Permacoil surren- 
dered to Colonel Coote, Carrical to Colonel Mon- 
son and Admiral Cornish on the 5th April, and 
Chellumbrum to Colonel Monson on the 12th. 
On the same day, Colonel Coote took Waldour, 
where the camp was formed previously to opera- 
tions against Pondicherry; for which purpose, 
a large supply of gunpowder had been sent from 
Bengal and Bombay, accompanied by three com- 
panies of the king's artillery from the latter presi- 
dency. The Mahrattas had gained a considerable 
victory over Salabat Jung, who ceded to them 
districts of the value of sixty lacs of rupees, and 
the fort of Dowlatabad, at that time the strongest 
in the country. M. Bussy and other French 
prisoners on parole, at Pondicherry, were ordered 
to Madras, as several of them had borne arms by 
order of M. Lally. Considerable apprehension 
being entertained that the Mahrattas would enter 
the province and demand the chout, and, if joined 
by the Mysoreans and the French, that they 



would impede the designs against Pondicherry, neo. 
a member of the Council was deputed, for the Madras. 
purpose of inducing them to refrain from ad- 
vancing towards the Carnatic. In the month 
of September, the President, Governor Pigot, 
accompanied by Colonel Coote, visited Admiral 
Steevens on board the Norfolk, and, after much 
solicitation, obtained his consent to the marines of 
the squadron being landed, to aid the troops in 
preventing supplies being thrown into Pondi- 
cherry. During the preparation for attacking 
Ariancopang, orders were received from Bengal 
for divesting Colonel Coote of the command, and 
placing it in the hands of Colonel Monson. The 
latter officer, in an attack on the enemy's outposts, 
having had both the bones of his leg broken by a 
shot, recommended that Colonel Coote should colonel Mon- 

son wounded. 

again receive the command. It was some days, colonel coote 

, . n / ~ 1 , , resumes com- 

nowever, before Coote would consent to return to mand. 

the camp, having made preparations to proceed 

to Bengal. The French blew up Ariancopang, Ariancopang 

, , t^ rr,, ... evacuated by 

and retreated to Pondicherry. Ihe marines being the French, 
re-embarked by the desire of Admiral Steevens, 
he sailed in October with the greater part of his 
fleet to Trincomalee, leaving five of his ships to 
prevent the enemy affording aid by sea. 

The king (as he was then styled) of Mysore 
having supported the French, a diversion was made 
into his country, and the fort of Caroor taken by 
Captain Smith. It was supposed to have been 




[Chap. III. 


1760. the first instance of any European troops having 
Madras. advanced so far west inland. The king subse- 
quently addressed letters of friendship to the Pre- 
sident and to the Nabob of the Carnatic, stating 
Hyder Naigue. that it was his prime minister, Hyder Naigue, who 
had rebelled against him and sent his troops to 
assist the French. It appears to be the first 
mention of Hyder, who became so formidable an 
enemy to the Company, both in his own person 
and that of his adopted successor. 

The President, Mr. Pigot, having received an 
invitation from Colonel Coote, who thought his 
presence might be necessary in the event of the 
reduction of Pondicherry, proceeded in the ship 
Lord Mansfield, on the 7th January, and joined 
the army on the 9th. On the 10th, a battery was 
opened against the north-west bastion of the town : 
on the 13th, another within five hundred yards of 
the walls. On the 15th, deputies came to Colonel 
Coote, with offers to surrender the place : on the 
17th, the fort and citadel were delivered up, and 
the English colours hoisted. The siege lasted 
eight months, during which the garrison suffered 
great distress. The Nabob had presented ten lacs 
of rupees to the Mahrattas, to prevent their enter- 
ing the Carnatic during the operations. They 
suffered a severe defeat in a general engagement 
with the Patans, which checked their growing 
power — a power, it was observed, that would have 
spread through the country, " considering the 

" progress 


Patans defeat 
the Mahrattas 


" progress they had made of late years."* In the nei. 
month of February, Hyder was in open rebellion Madras. 
against his master, the king of Mysore. Hyder in re- 

° ° J bell ion against 

Colonel Coote was to return to Bengal in March, the kin s of 

° Mysore. 

Colonel Monson being sufficiently recovered to 
assume the command until General Lawrence 
arrived from England as commander-in-chief. In 
October, the Council stated that Salabat Jung and 
the other contending parties had solicited assist- 
ance, offering phirmaunds, which they declined ; 
adding, " we are not desirous of grasping at more 
than can be held." Vellore surrendered to the 
Nabob on the 26th December. 

In April, various refractory Polygars were re- 1762. 
duced, and the Council mediated between the 
Nabob and the king of Mysore for a settlement of 
the former's demand. An expedition against Ma- Expedition to 
nilla sailed on the 29th July from Madras. Manilla ' 

In September, the Council advised the Court of 1763. 
intelligence received from Bengal, as to the mea- 
sures then in progress against Cossim Ally Khan, 
and stated : " Private advices place it to too much 
violence on both sides." Governor Pigot returned 
to England in the month of November, when Mr. 
Drake succeeded to the chair. 

The treaty of peace with France having reached 1764. 
the Council, they observed, that the French could Peace with 

. . n France. 

only maintain troops by obtaining grants of coun- 

* Letter from Madras, March 1761. 



[Chai>. III. 



Madura sur- 


Northern Cir- 

Aid proposed 
to Hussain 
Ally in North- 
ern Circars. 

try, and this they might easily do from the Nizam, 
as the treaty did not preclude it. 

Mr. Palke succeeded, under the Court's appoint- 
ment, as governor, on the 4th May. 

In October, the fort of Madura, situated amidst 
the refractory Polygars, and against which opera- 
tions had been commenced in the early part of the 
year, surrendered to Major Campbell. 

The acquisition of the Northern Circars had be- 
come an object of considerable importance. The 
Council, apprehensive that, if the Company ob- 
tained possession, it might embroil either the Ben- 
gal government or themselves with the Mahrattas, 
proposed to rent them of the Nizam, in order to 
secure them from falling into the hands of the 
French, as M. Law, formerly so conspicuous a 
party in Bengal, had reached India under the 
treaty of peace, and proceeded to Pondicherry. 
Various disputes arose as to the rights of the 
French under the treaty, and the Council dwelt 
strongly upon the desire M. Law had manifested 
to acquire all the privileges which he contended 
the treaty secured to them. 

The Nizam wished that assistance should be 
given to Hussain Ally, to whom he had granted 
sunnuds for the Northern Circars to enable him to 
reduce them to subjection. " As the Carnatic 
appeared to be secure, except from the junction 
of the Mahrattas, Nizam Ally, and Hyder^ and 
that with some European power," which the 



Council considered very unlikely, they agreed to 
assist Hussain Ally. Shortly after the troops for 
this purpose were in motion, intelligence was re- 
ceived that the Nizam had advanced in force to 
make demands on the Nabob. The troops were 
recalled to oppose him, should he advance beyond 
Cuddapah. In the month of March, he slowly 
approached the hills near Tripetty, with 4,000 
horse and 10,000 sepoys ; but when he ascertained 
the force that would be opposed to him, he retired, 
and sent a friendly letter to the President, with a 
present of an elephant. The troops accordingly 
proceeded, in fulfilment of the original determi- 
tion, to aid Hussain Ally. 

Since the Destruction of the Pirates 
at Gheria, by the forces under Commodore James Bombay. 
and Colonel Clive in 1756, the Council at Bom- 
bay had been principally engaged in prosecuting 
the Company's commercial affairs at Gombroon, 
and in the Persian Gulf; also through Bussorah 
with Persia, and in Canara and Malabar. In 
February, 1760, they sent a deputation to Poonah, 
under an impression that the Mahrattas were Mahrattas. 
treating with the French. Nannah, the head 
of the Mahrattas, disavowed any such intention. 
He died in the month of June, 1761, when it was mt. 
believed that the Brahmin interest, which had 
given great disgust to the people in general, 
would cease. Mr. Whitehall was deputed to 




1761. Poonah, to condole with Mhaderao on the death 
Bombay. f hi s father, whose widow had retired to the hills, 
with all her family and effects. Mhaderao sought 
aid from the Company against the Nizam; but the 
Council declined to interfere, further than to pre- 
serve him from ruin, and to effect an accommo- 
dation with the Nizam. 

The Bengal government were of opinion, that 
the state of affairs consequent upon the death 
of Nannah, presented a favourable moment for a 
general attack against the Mahratta power, as the 
presence of some of their bodies, on the borders 
of the Company's provinces in Bengal, had been 
productive of much expense and annoyance. The 
Council at Bombay pointed out that the Mahrattas 
on the frontiers of Bengal acted independently of 
those at Poonah ; and although they felt the im- 
portance of reducing their power, yet, in their 
opinion, the period was not arrived when the at- 
tempt could be made with any prospect of success. 
Ragobah had taken upon himself the principal 
direction of the affairs at Poonah, since the death 
of Nannah, and there was reason to believe that 
he had proceeded to join the Nizam. The govern- 
ment determined, therefore, to avoid all interfe- 
rence with their affairs as much as possible. 
1763. In May, 1763, Hyder Ally, or Hyder 

RiseofHyder Naigue,* began to attract attention. He had 


* Vide page 104 


already taken Bednoreand advanced into Canara. j763. 
Mangalore submitted to him, and afterwards Bombay. 
Onore. His object was to bring the whole of the 
forts on the sea-coast into subjection ; at the 
same time professing an anxious desire to keep on 
good terms with the Company, permitting them, 
under treaty of the 27th May, to erect a factory 
at Onore and to enjoy various privileges of trade.* 
He made an application to the Council for a 
supply of 7,000 stand of arms ; they acceded only 
to the extent of 500 stand, apprehensive that a 
complete refusal might create a misunderstanding. 

In March of this year, they permitted him to ne*. 
purchase some cannon, and to build a fighting ves- 
sel at Bombay, under the impression that he 
might check the Mahrattas and other freebooters 
on the coast. The Mahrattas, fearing his power, 
abstained from any movement. The Council re- 
marked, that Hyder promised to become a very 
formidable enemy, unless he should be cut off, 
which his enterprizing spirit rendered very proba- 
ble, as his projects for extending his authority had 
caused him many enemies. His successes having 
deprived the Mahrattas of the choat in part of the 
Bednore country, they attacked him, and gained 
advantages over him in various engagements. He 
applied to the Nizam, and also to the Council at 
Bombay, for succour. The latter declined taking 


* Printed Treaties, page 518. 



[Chai>. III. 


any part, unless satisfied that their interference 
was essential to promote the Company's interests. 
In November, Hyder was so pressed by the 
Mahrattas, then* within five miles of his camp, 
that he applied for aid to the Company's agent 
at Tellicherry, expressing, at the same time, his 
intention of making the whole of the Malabar 
powers tributary. The chief at Tellicherry ex- 
postulated with him against such an attempt, 
representing that, the Company being on terms of 
friendship with most of the native powers on the 
coast, they could not remain neuter, unless he 
guaranteed full security for the Company's in- 
terests. In December, he made application, 
through the agent at Onore, for aid, both for him- 
self and the Nizam, in troops, stores, and guns, 
agreeing to defray every charge, and to grant the 
Company all the pepper trade on the coast. The 
Council, feeling it equally important to avoid 
giving umbrage to the Mahrattas, and to prevent 
their subduing the Bednore and Soondah coun- 
tries, resolved to supply Hyder with four hundred 
stand of arms and one hundred barrels of gun- 
powder. The Directors disapproved of the dis- 
position manifested to support Hyder, and re- 
marked, that a man of his aspiring genius, sup- 
posing him to continue for any time, is more likely 
to become a formidable enemy than a friend. , 
Notwithstanding all these striking circumstances, you 
22March 1765. nave added to your mismanagement by supplying him with 


Letter to 


arms, buying cannon for him, and allowing him to build 1765 

ships at Bombay. Bombay. 

These transactions render it extremely necessary that 
we should be informed of the history of Hyder Naigue, or 
Hyder Ally Cawn, in which your advices hitherto have 
been very deficient ; you are, therefore, hereby directed to 
send us, by the first conveyances, an account of his rise, 
what particular countries he possesses, by what means he is 
become so powerful, his genius and character, and every 
other material circumstance necessary for our information. 

In the foregoing part of this letter, we forbad your 
supplying any of the country powers with muskets, which 
we again, and positively, direct be strictly adhered to, unless 
to the king of Travancore, for the reasons there mentioned. 

Cannon we absolutely forbid you supplying any one 
of the country powers with ; and should not have thought 
there ever would have been a necessity for this, it appearing 
so remarkably inconsistent with our interest and policy. 

We also positively forbid your supplying the country 
powers with any other warlike stores whatsoever, or by 
whatever name they are distinguished (the king of Travan- 
core excepted, as observed in other parts of this letter) ; 
and we do the same with respect to all kinds of marine 
stores, unless upon very extraordinary occasions, and for 
which we shall expect you to give us, in the fullest and most 
explicit manner, your reasons for the necessity of any com- 

With regard to building ships at Bombay for any of 
these people, it can never be for our interest, whatever it may 
for individuals, and, consequently, we positively forbid its 
being done in future. 

In January, an expedition was undertaken for Mai wan 
the purpose of subduing the Malwan pirates, when 



1765. the fort of Raree, in the Southern Concan, was 

Bombay. Captured. 

Hyder pressed The Mahrattas having driven Hyder to great 
extremities, the Council at Bombay felt that the 
whole of the Company's privileges on the coast 
might fall a sacrifice, in the event of their further 
progress. The resident accordingly addressed a 
letter to Mhaderao and Ragobah, pointing out the 
privileges granted by Hyder to the Company, and 
stating that they could not sit down tame specta- 
tors, and see him deprived of the means of continu- 
ing them . It was proposed that the Council should 
use their best offices to mediate between them and 
Hyder. The proposition was accepted, and terms 
were agreed to,* which ended in a peace, leaving 
Hyder in possession of the provinces of Bednore 
and Soondah. 

Hyder extends This arrangement had scarcely been concluded, 

his conquests. . 

when Hyder effected the reduction of the greater 
part of the country on the coast. He then directed 
his course towards Calicut, which having captured, 
he entered the Colastria dominions with 30,000 
men, under the pretence of collecting two lacs of 
pagodas, stated to be due to the Bednore govern- 
ment, and attempted to pass the king of Cotiote's 
country. The spirit of aggrandizement which he 
manifested, led the Council to direct their agent 
at Onore to withhold from him all further supply 


* The 25th April 1765. 


of fire-arms. In May, the Council were apprised 1766 - 
that the king of Travancore had applied for aid to BoMBAV 
the Dutch, in case Hyder should invade his terri- 
tory ; but that his chief reliance was on the Com- 
pany, to whom he was prepared to transfer the 
3,000 candies of pepper, at the same price at 
which it was taken at by the Dutch, provided 
the Company would supply him with warlike 
stores, and defend his kingdom, he defraying 
the expense of such aid. 

The depredations of Hyder were extensive and 
indiscriminate. At Rhandeterra, the Moors struck 
and destroyed the English colours, which were 
flying there. Ally Rajah appearing to be active 
in these operations, a detachment was sent against 
him. Hyder disavowed all intention of acting 
hostilely towards the Company : his declaration 
appeared deserving of credit, from the fact that, 
at the moment of his operations against the several 
petty native states, he sent his only ship of war 
to Bombay, to refit, which it was not likely he 
would have done, had he been in a state of 
hostility with the English. The Council took 
measures for opposing him, in the event of his 
attacking the Company's property; and, in the 
month of April, advised the Madras Presidency 
of the whole of their proceedings and future 
intentions, requesting them to co-operate, should 
circumstances lead to a rupture. 

The Council at Madras were anxious that every Council at 

J Madras de- 

vol. i. i means 


1766. means should be adopted to avert a collision with 
Bombat. Hyder. They were apprehensive, if hostilities took 
tain peace with place, that the whole of the country would be 
involved ; and as he had the command of all 
the passes leading into the Nabob's country, he 
might, with ease, send his cavalry forward, and 
do great mischief, before effectual measures could 
be taken against him. They likewise considered 
that he presented an important check to the power 
of the Mahrattas.* Another reason which induced 
them to urge the maintenance of a good under- 
standing was, the grant to the Company of the 
circars by the Mogul. Nizam Ally was indisposed 
to admit the Company's authority; and, should 
he join with Hyder, the Council felt that it would 
present a serious obstacle to the Company's esta- 
blishing their power in those countries. 

In consequence of these representations, the 
President at Bombay addressed a letter to Hyder, 
on the 11th July, adverting to the friendship and 
regard which he professed for the Company, and 
pointing out how totally inconsistent his whole 
course of conduct was with such a feeling. In 
order to place his relations towards the Company 
on a clear footing, the President transmitted four- 
teen articles, as the basis for a treaty of peace and 
firm friendship to be agreed to by him. The 
first declared, that " there shall be peace and 


* Consultations, June 1766, 


friendship for ever ;" — the second, that the said ivoa 
Nabob has lately conquered the sea-coast from »**■*♦; 
Cape Ramo north, to Penany south, &c. ; the 
Nabob to repay the Company what was owing to 
them by the Rajahs of the countries of which he 
had taken possession ; facilities of trade to be 
secured ; pepper to be supplied ; and provision 
made that he should not form a treaty with any 
European power, contrary to the interests of the 
Company ; nor was he to attack any power in 
alliance with them, more particularly the Nabob 
of Arcot. He was to send a list of articles he 
wished to be supplied with. 

The answer from Hyder was dated the 28th 
September, and received on the 9th November at 
Bombay. The articles were completely altered 
by him ; the first commencing, " Thanks be to 
God, I have subdued the coast of Malabar from 
the Cape of Ramo to Penany. Since there is so 
firm a friendship between the Honourable Com- 
pany and this state, how can my people join with 
the Honourable Company's enemies? As there 
is a fair friendship between the Honourable Com- 
pany and this Circar, they shall always receive 
more compliments than others." The thirteenth 
article provided that, whenever the Honourable 
Company might want troops, he would furnish 
them with ten or fifteen thousand ; and, on the 
contrary, they were to furnish him, when his ene- 
mies rendered it necessary. He was to have 
i 2 annually, 


1766, annually, from the Company, a supply of three 
or four thousand muskets. 

The following is an extract from Hyder's letter 
to the President : — " I have received your honour's 
esteemed letter ; thanks be to God, there is no 
separation or difference between your honour, the 
Honourable Company, and the Circar, and it is 
my desire that our friendships may be firm, and 
increase daily more and more. Mahomed Ally 
Cawn, of Arcot, has also an intention, through 
the persuasion of low people, to have some dis- 
putes with me : but I also take no notice of it, out 
of regard to your honour. Ally Rajah, although 
a well-wisher of your Honourable Company, the 
Nairs preserve a great enmity with, and conse- 
quently inform the chief of Tellicherry many 
things against him, which unjustly occasion him 
to be disgusted with him. I have also, in conse- 
quence of your letter, sent the articles I am in 
want of, and desire your honour will order it to 
be drawn out accordingly, and sent to me under 
your seal. I am now in want of the muskets, 
and, therefore, desire your honour will order to 
permit me annually to purchase from the Honour- 
able Company three or four thousand new English 
muskets, and what gunpowder I may want. I 
am very glad to observe the offer made me of the 
Honourable Company's assistance, which is con- 
sistent with our friendship." 
u de. cter ° f The Council at Bombay, in accordance with the 



desire expressed by the Court of Directors, sent nee. 
home an account of the rise, connexions, and Bombay, 
situation of Hyder. This paper appears to have 
been mislaid. Colonel Wilks, in his 'Historical 
Sketches of the South of India/ gives an account 
of Hyder, of whom he speaks in the following 
terms : 

" An unknown volunteer in this obscure service 
(the reduction of Bangalore to the house of 
Mysore) was destined in after-times to become 
the head of a mighty empire ; to establish a 
reputation in arms, which, fairly viewing the 
scene on which he moved, and the instruments 
he was able to employ, has seldom been exceeded, 
and to threaten, with no ideal terrors, the extinc- 
tion of the British power in India." 

This statement accords with a paper in the 
possession of the late Colonel Mackenzie, the 
surveyor-general of Bengal, which represented 
Hyder to have been the son of Futty Naik, a 
soldier in the service of the Nabob of Sirpy, in 
the year 1728, who fell at the same time with his 
master in an action with a Patan chief, named 
Rei Mohomed, sent by Nizam ul Mulk, then 
soubhadar of the Deccan, against the Nabob. 
Hyder Naik was then about ten years old. He 
became a party in the hostilities which arose out 
of the contentions in 1750 for the Nabobship of 
the Carnatic, where he commanded a considera- 
ble body of troops raised through his own means. 



1766. In 1754 he appears to have been engaged against 
Bombay. t j ie p i jg ars near Trichinopoly, and for his services 
received a considerable present from the rajah. 
In 1760 he recovered Bangalore from a Mahratta 
force which blockaded it, in the expectation that 
it might be added to the possessions already ac- 
quired by them in the country of Mysore. 



The state of affairs in India, as announced to 1765. 
the Home Authorities at the commencement of Bengal. 
1764, led to the appointment of Lord Clive* as 
president and commander-in-chief, which mea- 
sure was communicated to the Council of Bengal 
in the following terms : — " The General Court Lord ciive ap- 
of Proprietors having, on account of the critical SenTancfcom- 
situation of the Company's affairs in Bengal, S^ l "~ 
requested Lord Clive to take upon him the sta- 
tion of president, and the command of the Com- 
pany's military forces there, his Lordship has been 
appointed president and governor accordingly, as 
mentioned in the preceding part of this letter. 
The intention of the General Court, in desiring 
Lord Clive to go to Bengal, was, that by his Lord- 
ship's character and influence, peace and tranquil- 
lity might be the easier restored and established in 
that subahship. In order, therefore, to answer 
these purposes in a manner that we apprehend 
may prove most effectual, we have thought proper 


* Colonel Clive had been raised to the peerage in March 
1762,, by the title of Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey, in Ireland. 


1765. to appoint a committee on this occasion, consisting 
Bengal ' of his Lordship, Mr. W. B. Sumner, Brigadier- 
general Carnac, also Messrs. Harry Verelst and 
Francis Sykes, to whom we do hereby give full 
powers to pursue whatever means they shall judge 
most proper to attain those desirable ends ; but, 
however, in all cases where it can be done conve- 
niently, the Council at large is to beacon suited by 
the said Committee, though the power of deter- 
mining is to be in that Committee alone. We 
further direct, that, as soon as peace and tran- 
quillity are restored and established in the subah- 
ship of Bengal, then the said extraordinary powers 
are immediately to cease, and the said Committee 
be dissolved."* 

The proceedings which led to the nomination 
of Lord Clive as president and commander-in- 
chief, in 1764, are calculated to throw light upon 
points that gave to his Lordship's character an ap- 
pearance of pertinacity, which the facts will tend 
in a great measure to explain. Considerable mis- 
apprehension also appears to have existed as to 
the conduct and motives of the Courts of Directors 
and Proprietors at that time. 

In the early part of January 1764, the Court of 
Directors had resolved to remove Mr. Amyatt and 
others from the Company's service, in consequence 
of the unjustifiable course they had pursued towards 


* Letter from the Court of Directors to Bengal, the 1st June 


the Nabob, in the conduct of the internal trade.* 1765. 
They had also appointed Mr. Vansittart president Bengal. 
and governor, and Mr. Spencer, who was the 
seventh in council at Bombay, second member of 
the council at Calcutta, and successor to Mr. Van- 
sittart. On the 4th February, nearly three weeks 
subsequent to those appointments, advices were re- 
ceived by the Lapwing from Madras, dated 3d 
September, 1763, which conveyed the first intel- 
ligence of an actual rupture with Meer Cossim, 
the death of Mr. Amyatt at Moorshedabad, and 
the failure of Mr. Ellis in his attempt to gain 
possession of the city of Patna. The latter gen- 
tleman would have been removed from the ser- 
vice, by the Court's orders of May 1763, which 
orders had not been received in Bengal when the 
above-mentioned occurrence took place. 

The attention of the Proprietors and the public 
was drawn to those advices, their substance being 
stated in an anonymous advertisement, issued on 
the 8th February, and published in the papers by 
order of the Chairman. A special General Court 
was called on the 27th February, at the requisi- 
tion of nine proprietors, for the purpose of consi- 
dering the state of affairs in India. They met 
again on the 29th February, and on the 1st and 
12th March. At these several Courts, all the pro- 
ceedings 'touching the various revolutions in India, 


* Vide p. 87. 


1765. down to the last elevation of Meer Jaffier, includ- 
Bknoal. j n g t k e d eS p a tch of the 3d September, were read. 
It was then moved, to refer back the appointment 
of Mr. Spencer for the reconsideration of the 
Court of Directors : but the General Court ad- 
journed without coming to any decision on the 
question. On the 12th March, another Special 
Court was held, at the requisition of nine proprie- 
tors, at which it was resolved, " that it is the desire 
of the General Court, that Lord Clive be requested 
to take upon him the station of president of Ben- 
gal, and the command of the Company's military 
forces there." 

His Lordship, who was present, intimated, 
" that if the Court of Directors were as well dis- 
posed towards him as he was towards them, he 
should have no objection to the service ; but till 
he found such a disposition, he desired to be ex- 
cused from coming to any resolution. " A letter 
was addressed to Lord Clive from the Court of 
Directors, on the 16th March, transmitting a copy 
of the General Court's resolution, and acquainting 
him that they were unanimous in assuring him, 
that they would most cheerfully concur in taking 
the steps necessary to carry the resolution of the 
General Court into effect, and in preparing every 
convenience for his passage. His Lordship's 
reply to the official communication, through the 
Secretary, was dated the 17th. "I have received 
your letter enclosing a copy of the "resolution of 



the last General Court. I must desire you will 17C5 - 
return the Directors my thanks, for their offers of Bkngai - 
preparing every convenience for my passage." 

The letters were communicated to a General 
Court on the 21st March, when the Proprietors 
desired to know from Lord Clive, who was pre- 
sent, whether he was disposed to declare his 
immediate acceptance of the stations. His Lord- 
ship replied, that " he would give his answer as 
soon as the next election of Directors should be 
determined. " A motion was then made, " that, 
Lord Clive declining to accept immediately the 
service proposed to him by the General Court, the 
Court of Directors be desired to make the proper 
arrangements, in the present critical situation of 
the Company's affairs." After a debate thereon, 
it appeared to be the sense of the Court, that 
every objection Lord Clive might have to his 
acceptance of the Company's service should be 
removed. His Lordship having declared that 
" he could not accept the service if the Deputy 
Chairman remained in the lead of the Direction," 
that gentleman repeatedly expressed the greatest 
inclination to co-operate, in the most honourable 
and friendly manner. Lord Clive then signified 
that he would declare his final resolution in a few 
days, which he was desirous of being indulged 
with. On the 28th March, his Lordship addressed 
the following letter to the Court of Directors : — 

" Gentlemen : — It was agreed at the last Gene- 


1^65 ral Court of Proprietors, that I should have a few 

Bengal. ^^ s tQ cons \^ eY anc [ determine concerning the 

terms upon which I would accept of the request 

of the preceding Court of Proprietors, to take upon 

me the direction of their affairs in Bengal. 

"Although I thought I had sufficiently ex- 
plained myself on that head at the time the pro- 
posal was made, yet, as there seemed to be a 
disposition in many of the gentlemen of the Court 
for whom I have the highest respect, that a recon- 
ciliation should take place between Mr. Sulivan 
and me, so that this gentleman might still con- 
duct the affairs at home, and that I might never- 
theless venture, without fear of my reputation, 
abroad, I thought the respect which was due to 
those Proprietors, the duty I owe to myself, and 
the regard I shall ever feel for the interest of the 
Company, all called upon me, in the strongest 
manner, once more to revolve in my mind the 
possibility, of such an union, consistent with the 
services I would endeavour to render the Com- 
pany, and consistent with that attention which is 
due to my own honour. 

u This I have endeavoured to do in the coolest 
and most dispassionate manner, after laying aside 
every prejudice, and judging only from the con- 
stant experience of things. 

" Upon the whole, I still continue to be of 
opinion, that, in case the Proprietors think it for 
their advantage that Mr. Sulivan should remain 



at the head of the Direction (or, as he was pleased i?r>5. 
to term it himself, should continue him in the lead Ben «ai 
of their affairs), I cannot accept their service : 
but in case the Proprietors should not think it 
necessary to continue Mr. Sulivan in such autho- 
rity, I am willing and ready to accept their ser- 
vice, even supposing the next advices should 
pronounce their affairs in Bengal to be in as des- 
perate a condition as ever they were in the time 
of Suraja Dowla. 

" Should a Direction be settled with whom I 
can possibly co-operate, every thing will be easily 
adjusted, since I have no interested views in going 

" At the same time, I never desired, or even 
wished, to name a Direction, as some industriously 
spread abroad ; I only object to one man having 
the lead in the Company's affairs, in whom I have 
so often and publicly declared I never can place 
any confidence, and who, in my opinion, has 
acted, and does continue to act, upon principles 
diametrically opposite to the true interest of the 
East-India Company. 

"I have the honour to be, with great respect, 
gentlemen, your niost obedient humble servant, 

(Signed) " Clive." 

" Berkeley Square, 

March 28th, 1764." 

No answer was returned to his Lordship's let- 
ter. The annual election took place on the 12th 

April ; 


1765. April ; new Chairs being chosen on the 13th, Mr. 
Bengal. Sulivan returned into the body of the Court. On 
the 18th, a letter was addressed to Lord Clive 
from the Court, through their Secretary, desiring 
his Lordship to signify his determination as to pro- 
ceeding to India, and that he would favour the 
Chairs with a conference on the following morn- 
ing. In consequence of such communication, 
Lord Clive repaired to the India House on the 
19th, and being desirous of explaining himself to 
the Court, he was introduced. After acknow- 
ledging that he felt bound in honour to accept the 
invitation of the General Court, he declared that 
he had no interested views therein, but that his 
sole object' was that of serving the Company. He 
expressed his sentiments generally as to the 
political, commercial, and military affairs of the 
Company, he stated that he could not proceed if 
Mr. Spencer continued in Bengal, as such mea- 
sure would be the occasion of several of the 
Council resigning the service ; and that he also 
apprehended there would be great impropriety in 
his proceeding to India whilst the law-suit relating 
to his jaghire was depending. 

On the 27th, his Lordship having stated that he 
should be ready to take upon himself the govern- 
ment, although his offer as to the jaghire should 
not be agreed to ; addressed the Court at consi- 
derable length, submitting various suggestions, 
which he conceived would tend to promote the 



Company's interests. The Court of Directors 1765. 
on that day rescinded the nomination of Mr. Bengal. 
Spencer as second in council, and re-appointed 
him to Bombay. 

On the 30th April, Lord Clive was sworn in as 
president of Fort William and commander-in-chief 
of the Company's forces there. On the 5th May, 
the General Court resolved to grant to his Lord- 
ship the proceeds of the jaghire for ten years; 
it was also resolved that covenants should be 
entered into by the Company's servants not to 
receive gifts, presents, or rewards in India. The 
orders prohibiting presents, and desiring covenants 
to be entered into, were opened and recorded by 
the Council at Calcutta, on the 24th January 
1765. Jaffier Ally Khan died on the 5th Fe- 
bruary following, when Nazim-ood-Dowlah, the 
Nabob from whom the members of the Council 
were charged, on Lord Clive's arrival, with hav- 
ing received the present of twenty lacs, succeeded 
to the musnud. 

The Committee of Correspondence having been 
appointed to confer with Lord Clive on the various 
suggestions he had made, and to report their 
opinions to the Court, the Committee, on the 
25th May 1764, recommended, "that, in order 
to restore peace and tranquillity in Bengal, full 
powers be given to our president and governor 
Lord Clive, Mr. Sumner, General Carnac, Messrs. 
Verelst and Sykes, to pursue whatever means 



1765. they judge most proper to attain the same ; but 

Bengal. jj^ w h en - lt can b e done conveniently, they are 

to consult the Council at large. However, when 

those desirable objects are obtained, the said 

extraordinary powers are immediately to cease." 

The Court of Directors adopted the recom- 
mendation of the Committee on the same day, 
and, as already shewn, it formed part of the in- 
structions to the President and Council at Cal- 

Such were the facts connected with Lord Clive's 
appointment. It has however been stated that, 
" during the military and political transactions 
which so intensely engaged their servants in 
India, the Courts of Directors and Proprietors 
remained for several years rather quiet spectators 
and warm expectants, than keen and troublesome 

"When they had been agitated for a while, 
however, by the reports of mismanagement which 
were mutually transmitted to them by Vansittart 
and his opponents, and, at last, when they were 
alarmed by the news of a war actually kindled 
with the Nabob, of the massacre of so many of 
their servants, and the extensive spirit of mutiny 
among the troops, their sense of danger roused 
them to some acts of authority. Though Clive 
had quitted India with an act of insult towards 
his employers, which they had highly resented ; 
though the Directors had disputed and withheld 



payment of the proceeds of his jaghire, for which 1765 - 
he had commenced a suit against them in the 
Court of Chancery; he was now proposed for 
governor, as the only man capable of retrieving 
their disordered and desperate affairs. Only I 

thirteen Directors, however, were found, after a 
violent contest, to vote for his appointment, while 
it was still opposed by eleven. Yet the high 
powers which he demanded, as indispensable for 
the arduous services necessary to be performed, 
though strongly opposed, were also finally con- 
ferred. He was invested with the powers of 
commander-in-chief, president, and governor, in 
Bengal, and together with four gentlemen, named 
by the Directors, was to form a Select Committee, 
empowered to act by their own authority, w as often 
as they deemed it expedient, without consulting 
the Council or being subject to its control." 

With regard to the first clause of the passage, 
the Company's records shew, that both the Courts 
of Directors and Proprietors watched with much 
solicitude the progress of affairs in India. There 
is nothing which authorizes the inference, that 
they were at that period " warm expectants," 
(it is presumed) either of new acquisitions or 
exorbitant gains. They desired the means of 
meeting the heavy expenditure which the opera- 
tions in that country had entailed upon the Com- 
pany. They advised and directed, where advice 
and direction could be safely given ; and although 

vol. i. k they 


1765 - they wisely abstained " from controlling any mea- 
sures which the exigency of circumstances might 
have called for on the part of the Council, they 
communicated their sentiments and wishes there- 

■ on to their servants." 

Indeed, the principles which governed the Court 
at that early period of the Company's political 
history, present an extraordinary coincidence with 
those expressed by the Court, only in the month 
of January 1835: — 

" Long experience, as well as reflection, has 
convinced the Court of Directors, that, under the 
very imperfect knowledge which can here be 
attained of all the circumstances connected with, 
and bearing upon, public arrangements and opera- 
tions o£ the government in India, there are few 
cases in which precise and peremptory rules ought 
to be prescribed. The course which they have 
followed, as the only safe and salutary one, has 
been, to be copious and minute in instructions 
and observations, both as regards the principles to 
be acted upon, and the application to be made of 
them in particular circumstances : but to be very 
sparing in orders and rules, which leave not a 
latitude to those on the spot, who alone are com- 
petent to frame their measures in such a manner 
as to adapt them to circumstances which here may 
have been only partially known." 

So far from the Court having been aroused 
to acts of authority by the news of actual hostili- 


ties with the Nabob — by the massacre of so many 1765. 
of their servants — and by the extensive spirit of Bengal. 
mutiny among the troops, it has been seen that 
they had exercised those acts of authority before 
any such news had reached England. That the 
death of Mr. Amyatt was not known to the Court 
until three weeks after he had been removed from 
the service ; the account of the massacre did not 
arrive until three months, and that of the mutiny 
until six months, after the appointment of Lord 
Clive ; and instead of its having been considered 
an extensive mutiny, the Court of Directors, on 
the 11th October, 1764, caused the following- 
notice to be issued through the daily papers : 
" We can with good authority assure the public, 
that although, by the last advices from Bengal 
(7th February), the East-India Company were 
informed there had been a mutiny among the 
troops, instigated and encouraged by some French 
soldiers, about one hundred and fifty in number, 
who had enlisted in the Company's service, yet 
the same, at the time of despatching those ad- 
vices, was quelled, without the loss or desertion 
of a single European, except those Frenchmen 
above-mentioned." The appointment of Lord 
Clive was that of the Court of Proprietors, and 
not of the Court of Directors. With regard to the 
high powers stated to have been " demanded," 
it would be inferred from the statement that they 
formed one of the stipulations under which his 

k 2 Lordship 


1765. Lordship accepted the office of president ; where- 
as he was sworn in on the 30th April, and it was 
not until the 25th May that the recommenda- 
tion of the Committee of Correspondence already 
noticed, which was agreed to in personal com- 
munication with, and not in consequence of any 
demand from his Lordship, was adopted by the 
majority of the Court. It was on that occasion 
that the eleven Directors dissented not from his ap- 
pointment but from the resolution conferring such 
powers on the Select Committee, which was to 
consist of four members besides his Lordship ; 
and so far from the act conferring such powers 
being unusual, the principle had obtained, of 
appointing a Select Committee to act irrespec- 
tive of the Council, since February, 1756. 

In the instance of the expedition to Madras 
under Colonel Forde, in 1758, the Select Com- 
mittee acted under such powers, as appears by the 
Consultations of the 21st August in that year. 
In the instance of Mr. Vansittart, in February 
1764, only three months preceding the proposi- 
tion for conferring the powers in question on Lord 
Clive and the Committee, full powers had been 
given by the Court to Mr. Vansittart "with 
authority to pursue whatever means he judged 
most proper to attain the object. He was in all 
cases, where it could be done conveniently, to 
consult the Council at large, or at least the Select 
Committee, though the power of determining was 
to be in him alone!" 



Lord Clive arrived at Calcutta, and took his 1765. 
seat as President, on the 3d Ma v. One of the Bengal * 
first measures of the Select Committee was the 
suppression of the internal trade, which had been 
the cause of such serious and frequent disputes. 
In accordance with the opinion of t&e Select 
Committee, an order was issued in Council, on 
the 20th May, requiring all European agents em- 
ployed in the different parts of the country to 
repair to the presidency by the 1st August. The 
attention of the Council was also drawn by the 
President to a representation from the Nabob, 
that, since his father's death, a distribution had 
been made of twenty lacs by Mahommed Reza 
Khan, for the purpose of maintaining him in his 
station, and that members of the Council had 
participated in the gifts. Mr. Leycester, one of 
the members of the Council, recorded a minute 
explanatory of the course he had followed. On 
the 7th June, the subject of receiving presents Presents ac- 
from the country government and its officers, members^ 
contrary to the orders from home, and to the 
covenants required to be entered into by the 
servants of the Company, being brought under 
discussion by the proceedings of the Select Com- 
mittee, Mr. Johnstone, a member of the Council, 
desired that the question, " whether the acceptance 
of all presents is improper?" might be put to 
each member of the Board. Of the eight mem- 
bers present, including the President, four gave a 
decided or qualified opinion in favour of receiving 

presents ; 


1765. presents; and four, including the President, were 
Bengal. opposed to their receipt.* 


* Extract Bengal Consultations, 7th June, 1765 : — 

Mr. Burdett is of opinion, «* That such presents may be 
received or not, according to particular circumstances ; that the 
Nabob had a right to dispose of his own property, and that the 
presents, on the occasion in question, might with great pro- 
priety be received.*' 

Mr. Leycester : " That where they are not the price of 
services, they may very properly be received." 

Mr. Sykes : "That presents at all times from the Nabob or 
his officers are very improper, as tending to the prejudice of 
the Company's interests." 

Mr. Johnstone : u That where they are not the price of 
unworthy services, and no trust is betrayed for them, the accept- 
ance of them is no way improper ; and, in the present case, as 
being previous to the execution [but not the receipt of the orders*'] 
of the deed of covenant, as warrantable as in time past by any 
who had received them." 

Mr. Verelst is of opinion, " That the receiving of presents, 
at a time the Board are doing their duty in supporting the 
government, and in the interest of the Company, is highly 
improper ; and the more so in the present instance, since he is 
informed that the Company's orders and covenants were re- 
ceived in Calcutta before the tender of them." 

Mr. Pleydell agrees in the opinion given by Mr. Leycester. 

Mr. Sumner is of opinion, " That the acceptance of presents 
after the receipt of the Company's orders to the contrary, and 
the covenants, is very improper." 

The President : "That no presents whatever ought to have 
been accepted after the receipt of the covenants, except in the 
manner specified therein." 

Mr. Leycester recorded, on the 11th June, a minute, of 
which the following is an extract. It is a singular document, 
and presents a curious specimen of reasoning in support of his 
views : — 

" When 

* Vide page 127. 


The following extract from a minute recorded r < 65 - 
by Mr. Johnstone in Council, on the 17th June, 
evinces a strong party spirit, as well as a jealous 
feeling towards Lord Clive and the Select Com- 
mittee, and affords some clue to the reasons which 
doubtless operated on the mind of his Lordship, 
in pressing for the removal of Mr. Spencer from 

" It seems the aim of the (Select) Committee 
to render the proceedings of the late President and 
Council, if possible, obnoxious, instead of striv- 
ing to promote the cordiality so much to be wished. 


" When the Company's interests were altogether secured, 
and the orders of the Board fully executed, it is very true 
that I accepted a present from the Nabob. I never made a 
secret of it, as the custom of this country on such occasions, 
well known to every body, sanctifies the acceptance ; and 
where presents have not been esteemed the price of improper 
services, I never heard a reflection cast on those who did receive 
them. It has always been my opinion, that, in a country not 
under the most absolute tyranny, every man's property was at 
his own disposal, and every one was at liberty to accept what 
was offered without fear or compulsion, the same not being a 
consideration for improper services. The adopting opposite 
maxims is contrary to the known practice of those who have 
gone before us ; and though absolute orders, with a penalty 
annexed, may make the receiving presents improper and in- 
convenient, yet they cannot alter the rectitude of the act itself; 
and I will venture to appeal to the common sentiments of 
mankind, which, I am persuaded, will condemn that man as a 
very absurd one, who, having an opportunity of obtaining a 
comfortable maintenance for no dishonourable sacrifice, should 
decline the occasion." 

* Fide page 126. 


1765. To what causes must we attribute this temper of 
b ENG al. the Committee ? One would almost think they 
were piqued to find the interest of the Company 
so well secured before their arrival ; only they 
must know that their coming at all was doubtful, 
and the gentlemen who had felt the defects of the 
former treaty, were full as well qualified to remedy 
them in the new one, and have no doubt their 
masters will approve their services. I have heard 
that the Governor has expressed much chagrin, 
that the affair of his jaghire has been settled ac- 
cording to his agreement with the Company 
without his interposition, though a better oppor- 
tunity could not have occurred to get it done. 
Mr. Spencer, than whose merit none stands in a 
fairer light with the Company, was, if I may so 
call him, the darling of that party which in Eng- 
land opposed Lord Clive and the gentlemen of the 
Committee. Any attack of him or his measure, is 
an attack on the party who espoused him ; and 
though I would not assert that any such sentiments 
influenced any member of the Board, yet I cannot 
help being surprised at the uncommon neglect and 
disregard shewn to Mr. Spencer by I^ord Clive." 
Lord Clive recorded a minute on the 24th 
June, as to the jaghire, which had been so broadly 
adverted to by Mr. Johnstone. His Lordship did 
not shrink from boldly maintaining what he con- 
ceived to be his just rights, from the earliest mo- 
ment the point became matter of dispute nntil 



the final settlement of the question : — " As to n65. 
the recrimination of my having formerly received Bengal. 
a present from Meer Jaffier, which Mr. Johnstone 
would establish as a precedent to be followed by 
every body, he is not ignorant that it was given 
to me in a military capacity only, as a reward for 
real services rendered to the Nabob at a very dan- 
gerous crisis ; nor was that reward ever stipulated, 
required, or expected by me, or with my know- 
ledge. Be it also remembered, that what I 
received in consequence of the battle of Plassey, 
was the only present I ever did receive, although 
I remained, during the space of nearly three years 
afterwards, President of the Council, and at the 
head of a victorious army. Let the impartial world 
determine, whether those who have succeeded me 
with inferior pretensions, and even in inferior sta- 
tions, have conducted themselves with equal pro- 
priety or moderation. It is unnecessary for me to 
dwell longer upon the subject of my own conduct, 
having long ago published every particular relating 
to it, and having long ago had the satisfaction of 
seeing it approved by my employers. If all Mr. 
Johnstone's |ransactions will bear the test as well 
as mine, he will no doubt receive as honourable 
testimonials of public approbation as I did. The 
gentleman has heard, it seems, that I expressed 
some chagrin in finding that the confirmation of 
the jaghire to the Company on the expiration of 
ten years, or at my death, had been obtained (at- 


1765. tempted, I suppose he would have said, for it is 
Bengal. no t y e j obtained) without my interposition. As 
this part of Mr. Johnstone's minute happens to be 
a fact, I will do him the justice to acknowledge 
it. 1 have not scrupled to say, and I still continue 
of opinion, that the late President and Council 
were officious in applying for the confirmation. 
The Court of Directors, in their letter of the 1st 
June last, expressly say, that they need give no 
other directions relative to that business, than that 
the Council shall co-operate with me in effecting 
it; and that, in case of my death, then the Pre- 
sident and Council for the time being shall solicit 
for, and use their best endeavours to obtain, the 
grant, in as effectual a manner as if I had been 
living to co-operate with them. These being the 
orders, the only orders, they received, and the 
opportunity they so much dwell on being of no 
importance, I cannot help repeating, that the 
application which the gentlemen thought fit to 
make to the Nabob was officious, and strongly 
intimated either a distrust of my intentions to 
complete the agreement I had entered into, or an 
inclination to deprive me of that small testimony 
of my attachment to the Company." 
Necessity for Nothing could more strongly prove the necessity 
feet commit." for his Lordship being armed with the powers that 
had been conferred upon him and the other mem- 
bers of the Select Committee, than the proceed- 
ings which have been so fully noticed. A reference 




to the documents is essential, in order to place \765. 
the facts before the reader, and to enable him to BliNGAL - 
form a correct opinion as to the conduct of Lord 
Clive, in the various peculiar and difficult positions 
in which he was placed.* 

On the receipt of Mr. Leycester's minute, and 
the other proceedings, the Court wrote as follows : 
" In the thirtieth paragraph of our letter of the 
19th February last, we expressed our surprise that 
the covenants were not executed, nor any notice 
taken of them ; judge, then, what we feel on 
learning, from Mr. Leycester's minute on Consul- 
tation, 11th June, 1765, that they never were 
intended to be executed ; and we presume he 
speaks not only his own sentiments, but the sen- 
timents of his colleagues, when he says, the 
covenants were rather the effects of party than the 
cool sentiments of his masters, and that it was 
probable parties would unite in abolishing cove- 
nants that could only injure individuals, and do 


* Before the Directors had received intelligence of the pro- 
ceedings in Council,, and the minute of Mr. Leycester, they 
wrote to Bengal, on the 19th February, 1766:— "We cannot 
avoid taking notice, that the late President and Council neither 
acknowledged the receipt of the covenants relative to the receiv- 
ing presents from the country government, nor have they taken 
the least notice of them. We hope there is no further meaning 
in this neglect than the deferring it till Lord Clive's arrival ; 
yet, when we consider the total disregard of our most solemn 
orders on the most important subjects, we know not where their 
disobedience will stop." 


1765. the Company no service. If our servants presume 
Bengal. tnus to ca ij [ n question our most direct and posi- 
tive orders, enforced, too, by the general voice of 
the whole body of Proprietors, it is time for us to 
exert the authority vested in us, and to do justice 
to the injured natives, to our own honour, and to 
the national character. 

" The proceedings of the Select Committee have 
laid open to us a most complicated scene of cor- 

" Neither can we admit, that the vast sums 
obtained on this occasion were by any means free 
gifts ; the dependent situation of the Soubah is 
itself a refutation of the plea ; and his letter to 
Lord Clive and the Select Committee, with the 
concurrent testimonies of the Seats, and Mahmud 
Reza Cawn, together with the depositions of the 
several people examined in this matter, amount to 
the clearest proofs that they were exacted from 
the several parties as the terms of the protection 
granted them ; and, lastly, we shall say a word 
or two to what those gentlemen vainly imagine 
makes strong in their defence, that no interest was 
sacrificed to obtain them. 

"The Company was engaged in a war which, 
as far as we can judge, cost them from ten to 
twelve lacs per month, for which the Nabob had 
stipulated to pay no more than five lacs per month, 
and even that fell in arrears ; the Nabob was at 
this time pressed for payment of the remaining 



thirty lacs foi restitution, besides other unlawful 1765. 
demands on him. It cannot surely be pleaded Bengal 
that, under these circumstances of the Soubah 
and the Company, no interest of the Company 
was sacrificed to obtain them ! We think these gen- 
tlemen sacrificed their own honour, the interest 
and honour of the Company, and of the nation. 

" We are sorry to see some of the gentlemen 
have thought fit to justify their breach of trust by 
a breach of order, in pleading the covenants were 
not executed, therefore not obligatory. But so 
totally do we differ from them, that we think them 
not only guilty of a breach of those particular co- 
venants, but also of the general covenants, which 
were entered into before these last were found so 

" The cavils and opposition of several of the 
members of the Council to the powers and conduct 
of our Select Committee, appear most evidently 
to have been calculated to screen and obstruct the 
inquiries into and detection of their misbehaviour ; 
but we are satisfied you have had the real interest 
of the Company constantly in your view, in all 
your researches into the general corruption and 
rapacity of our servants, with the spirit and disin- 
terestedness which do you honour, and merit our 
approbation." * 


* Letter to Bengal, 17th May, 1766. 


1765. Ten servants, including Mr. Spencer, were dis- 

Bengal. nagged the Company's service. 

Shuja Dowla, having found means to engage 
Mulhar, a considerable Mahratta chief, in his 
alliance, made formidable preparations to pene- 
trate a second time * into the Nabob's dominions. 
The measures pursued by Brigadier-general Car- 
nac, who had assumed the command of the army, 
prevented a junction of the numerous forces des- 
tined for the invasion, and averted the conse- 
quences of a ruinous war, which must have been 
supported through another campaign. Having 
reason to believe that their intention was to fall 
upon Sir Robert Fletcher, who commanded a 
separate corps in the Corah district, the general 
by forced marches united his troops with those 
of Sir Robert, and, on the 3d May, coming 
shuja Dowia up with the enemy, completely defeated them. 

defeated. __, ^_ • i • i ... 

Ihe Mahrattas retired with precipitation towards 
the Jumna, where they took up a position, whence 
they intended, if possible, to re-enter the district 
of Corah. The general attacked them again on 
the 22d, and obliged them to retire to the hills, 
surrenders to The Vizier, Shuja Dowla, having intimated a 

the British Go- . r 

vemment. desire to throw himself upon the generosity of the 
British Government, was received with the respect 
which was considered due to his rank. 


* Fide page 93. 


It appeared to the Council, that a peace with 1765. 
the Vizier was the immediate object to be attained. T ^ GAL - 

J Lord Clive pro- 

Lord Clive accordingly quitted Calcutta on the ceedsupthe 

J L # country and 

24th June, to conclude a treaty; for which pur- concludes a 

. T -* T ... treaty with the 

pose, his Lordship was furnished by the Council vizier and 

..,<.,!■".. • r, • Nabob. 

with the following instructions : — " Experience 
having shewn, that an influence maintained by 
force of arrms is destructive of that commercial 
spirit which we ought to promote, ruinous to the 
Company, and oppressive to the country, we 
earnestly recommend to your Lordship, that you 
will exert your utmost endeavours to conciliate 
the affections of the country powers, to remove 
any jealousy they may entertain of our unbounded 
ambition, and to convince them we aim not at con- 
quest and dominion, but security in carrying on 
a free trade, equally beneficial to them and to us. 
With this view, policy requires that our demands 
be moderate and equitable, and that we avoid 
every appearance of an inclination to enlarge our 
territorial possessions. The sacrifice of conquests, 
which we must hold on a very precarious tenure, 
and at an expense more than equivalent to their 
revenues, is of little consequence to us ; yet will 
such restitutions impress them with a high opinion 
of our generosity and justice. For these reasons, 
we think Shuja Dowla should be reinstated in the 
full possession of all his dominions, with such 
limitations only as he must see are evidently cal- 
culated for our mutual benefit. We would decline 



1765. insisting upon any terms that must prove irksome 

Bengal. ^ q ^{ g ^-^ S pj r j^ an( J i m ply a suspicion of his 

sincerity. Retaining possession of any of his 
strongholds may possibly be deemed a necessary 
pledge of his fidelity. For our parts, we would 
rather consider it as the source of future conten- 
tion and an unnecessary burthen to the Company, 
unless it be one day proposed to resume the 
thought of extending their dominions : a measure 
very opposite to the sentiments in which we left 
the Court of Directors." 

In accordance with these instructions, his Lord- 
ship and General Carnac concluded a treaty of 
peace with Shuja Dowla and the Nabob, on the 
16th August, at Allahabad.* Whatever reason- 
able expectations the Council entertained that this 
treaty would secure their friendship and fidelity, 
and render the public tranquillity permanent, it 
was the commencement of a connexion which has 
been a fruitful source of discussion to the present 

The Nabob was extremely averse to the esta- 
blishment of factories in his dominions, as he 
justly considered, from past experience, that they 
would lay the foundation of a future rupture, and 
prove the only thing that could possibly disturb 
our amity. The word factories was omitted in 
the treaty ; but without relinquishing the right, 
should it be found expedient, after mature delibe- 

* Vide Printed Treaties. 


ration, to enforce it, the Council stated that l '?65. 
they could foresee no benefit to arise to the Com- Bengal 
pany from maintaining settlements at so vast a 
distance from the presidency, whatever advan- 
tages might accrue to their servants. The pros- 
pect was so remote, while the expenses were so 
certain, the risk so evident, and the disputes it 
might occasion so probable, that they were of 
opinion the factory lately established at Benares 
ought immediately to be withdrawn. They con- 
sidered the limits of the Nabob's dominions suffi- 
cient to answer all purposes, and that they ought 
to constitute the boundaries, not only of all the 
Company's territories, possessions, and influence, 
but of their commerce also. " Grasping at more 
would endanger the safety of the revenues, and 
the well-founded power which they enjoyed, 
without the hope of obtaining an adequate ad- 

A sufficient provision was secured for the sup- 
port of the king's honour and dignity, without 
danger of his becoming a future incumbrance. 
Twenty-six lacs yearly were granted to him on 
the revenues of Bengal, an income far more con- 
siderable than he ever before enjoyed. The Select 
Committee then announced, that, " in gratitude 
for this instance of our attention to his interest, his 
majesty has been pleased to bestow on the Com- 
pany the most important grants ever yet obtained 
by any European state from the Mogul Court. 

vol. i. l Besides 



[Chap. IV. 



granted to the 

Besides confirming to the Company all their for- 
mer possessions, and securing to them the rever- 
sion in perpetuity of Lord Clive's jaghire, he 
has conferred on them the Dewanny of Ben- 
gal, Bahar, and Orissa, and, ratified in the 
strongest terms an agreement we proposed con- 
cluding with the Nabob, if the king's consent 
could be procured."* Another article stipulated 
that Shuja Dowla should pay the Company fifty 
lacs of rupees, by way of indemnification for the 
charges incurred by the war. The surrender of 
Cossim, Sumroo, and the deserters, was utterly 
out of his power. The former had sought shelter 
in the Rohillah country, and the latter under the 
protection of the Jauts. It was agreed that they 
should never meet encouragement or assistance 
from Shuja Dowla, or be again admitted into his 
country. A sanguine hope was entertained that 
the treaty of peace would be lasting, and our 
frontiers in that quarter perfectly secure against 
foreign invasions. 

The Select Committee then observed : " The 
time now approaches, when we may be able to 
determine, with some degree of certainty, whether 
our remaining as merchants, subjected to the 
jurisdiction, encroachments, and insults of the 
country government, or the supporting your pri- 
vileges and possessions by the sword, are likely 


* Letter from the Select Committee, 30th September, 1765. 


to prove most beneficial to the Company. What- nw. 
ever may be the consequence, certain it is that, 
after having once begun and proceeded to such 
lengths, we have been forced to go on from step 
to step, until your whole possessions were put to 
the risk by every revolution effected and every 
battle fought. To apply a remedy to those evils, 
by giving stability and permanency to your 
government, is now, and has been, the constant 
object of the serious attention of your Select 

These remarks justly point out a state of things Beneficial re. 
flowing from the progress of events so self-evi- pated. 
dent, that they require no comment. It has been 
charged upon Lord Clive, that he had planned or 
contemplated the acquisition of the Dewanny 
when at Madras, on his passage out. It should 
not be forgotten that the Dewanny of Bengal had 
been offered to the Company in 1761.* His lord- 
ship denied the justice of the charge. But so 
far from attaching any thing like criminality to 
the idea, had it been entertained by Lord Clive, 
it must have been clear to any one who had 
watched the course of things, that it was the 
most likely measure to prevent a recurrence of 
those disputes and disagreements with the Nabob, 
which had so frequently occurred and had been so 
strongly condemned. The Select Committee them- 

* Vide page 47. 






Court's views 
on acquiring 
the Dewanny. 

selves seem to have felt such to be the case, in 
writing to the Court : 

" The perpetual struggles for superiority be- 
tween the nabobs and your agents, together with 
the recent proofs before us of notorious and avowed 
corruption, have rendered us unanimously of opi- 
nion, after the most mature deliberation, that no 
other method could be suggested of laying the axe 
to the root of all these evils, than that of obtaining 
the Dewanny of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa for 
the Company. By establishing the power of the 
Great Mogul, we have likewise established his 
rights; and his majesty, from principles of grati- 
tude, equity, and policy, has thought proper to 
bestow this important employment on the Com- 
pany, the nature of which is, the collecting all the 
revenues, and after defraying the expenses of the 
army, and allowing a sufficient fund for the sup- 
port of the Nizamut, to remit the remainder to 
Delhi, or wherever the king shall reside or direct." 

The Directors expressed their sentiments on 
this event in the following terms:* "We come 
now to consider the great and important affair of 
the Dewanny. When we consider that the bar- 
rier of the country government was entirely broke 
down, and every Englishman throughout the 
country armed with an authority that owned no 
superior, and exercising his power to the oppres- 

* Letter to Bengal, 17th May, 1766. 


sion of the helpless native, who knew not whom 1765. 
to obey, at such a crisis, we cannot hesitate to Bengal - 
approve your obtaining the Dewanny for the 

" We must now turn our attention to render our 
acquisitions as permanent as human wisdom can 
make them. This permanency, we apprehend, 
can be found only in the simplicity of the execu- 
tion. We observe the account you give of the 
office and power of the king's Dewan in former 
times was — the collecting of all the revenues, and 
after defraying the expenses of the army, and al- 
lowing a sufficient fund for the support of the 
Nizamut, to remit the remainder to Delhi. This 
description of it is not the office we wish to exe- 
cute ; the experience we have already had, in the 
province of Burdwan, convinces us how unfit an 
Englishman is to conduct the collection of the 
revenues, and follow the subtle native through all 
his arts to conceal the real value of his country, 
to perplex and to elude the payments. We there- 
fore entirely approve of your preserving the ancient 
form of government, in the upholding the dignity 
of the Soubah. 

" We conceive the office of Dewan should be 
exercised only in superintending the collection and 
disposal of the revenues, which office, though 
vested in the Company, should officially be exe- 
cuted by our resident at the durbar, under the 
control of the Governor and Select Committee, 




[Chap. IV. 


Opposition to 
Lord Clive. 

the ordinary bounds of which control should ex- 
tend to nothing beyond the superintending the 
collection of the revenues and the receiving the 
money from the Nabob's treasury to that of the 
Dewannah, or the Company. 

" The resident at the durbar, being constantly 
on the spot, cannot be long a stranger to any 
abuses in the government, and is always armed 
with power to remedy them. It will be his duty 
to stand between the administration and the en- 
croachments always to be apprehended from the 
agents of the Company's servants, which must 
first be known to him ; and we rely on his fidelity 
to the Company to check all such encroachments, 
and to prevent the oppression of the natives. We 
would have his correspondence to be carried on 
with the Select Committee through the channel 
of the president. He should keep a diary of all 
his transactions. His correspondence with the 
natives must be publicly conducted ; copies of 
all his letters sent and received be transmitted 
monthly to the presidency, with duplicates and 
triplicates, to be transmitted home, in our general 
packet, by every ship." This was the introduc- 
tion of the system of recorded check, which has 
since prevailed in conducting the home administra- 
tion of the India government. 

After Lord Clive had returned to the presi- 
dency, various questions arose, which involved a 
great difference of opinion, and a spirit of opposi- 


tion was evinced towards his Lordship, which ren- 1765. 
dered it absolutely necessary either that he should Bengal - 
adopt strong and decided measures for maintaining 
the authority with which he was invested, or at 
once relinquish the government. 

The latter course would have left the interests 
of the Company to parties who had evinced a 
contempt for all authority, and a determination to 
promote their own interests at any cost. His His Lordship 


Lordship stated that the series of excesses which 
he had pointed out were not confined to the civil 
service, but the thirst after riches was daily pro- 
moting the ruin of the army. He dwelt upon the 
encroachment of the military upon the civil juris- 
diction, and their attempt to be independent of 
the civil authority, and observed, " the whole 
army should be subordinate to the civil power, 
and it is the indispensable duty of the Governor 
and Council to keep them so. If at any time they 
should struggle for superiority, the Governor and 
Council must strenuously exert themselves, ever 
mindful that they are the trustees for the Company 
in this settlement, and the guardians of public 
property under a civil institution ." 

After touching upon various other points con- 
nected with the state of the public affairs in India, 
his Lordship adverted to his contemplated return 
to England in the ensuing year. 

' ' Calcutta, 30th September, 1765: — Permit His intended 
me now to remind you, that I have a large family England! 




[Chap. IV. 


Requested by 
the Court to 

who stand in need of a father's protection ; that 
I sacrifice my health, and hazard my fortune, with 
my life, by continuing in this climate. The first 
great purposes of my appointment are perfectly 
answered ; peace is restored, and my engagement 
to procure for the Company the reversion of my 
jaghire is completed in the fullest manner, since 
it is not only confirmed by the present Nabob, 
but by the Great Mogul. 1 now only wait to be 
informed whether my conduct thus far be ap- 
proved of, and whether the whole or any part of 
the regulations I have had the honour to lay before 
you are conformable to your ideas of the reforma- 
tion necessary to be established. If they meet 
with your approbation, I doubt not you will im- 
mediately empower me, in conjunction with the 
Select Committee, to finish the business so suc- 
cessfully begun, which may easily be effected 
before the end of the ensuing year, when I am 
determined to return to Europe, and hope to 
acquaint you, in person, with the accomplishment 
of every wish you can form for the prosperity of 
your affairs in Bengal." In May, 1766, the Court 
of Directors sent an overland despatch, on learn- 
ing the intention of Lord Clive to quit India, and 
requested his continuance in the government : 
"The stability of your Lordship's plan," they 
observed, "with respect to our possessions and 
revenues, the peace of the country, and effecting 
a thorough reformation in the excessive abuses 



and negligence of our servants, require time, care, Bengal. 
and ability to accomplish ; we cannot, therefore, 
but be under great concern at the notice your 
Lordship has given us of your intention to leave 
Bengal the end of this year. But as the interest 
of the Company depends upon your Lordship's 
perfecting what you have laid so good a foundation 
for, it is our earnest and unanimous request, that 
you will continue another season in Bengal ; the 
doing which will further add to the honour and 
reputation your Lordship has already most deser- 
vedly acquired, and will lay a lasting obligation 
upon the Company. This request is of so much 
consequence, that we have thought it necessary to 
send it overland, to be forwarded to Bengal by 
way of Bussorah, as it may probably come to your 
hand before the arrival of the Mercury packet, 
which we are using our endeavours to get away 
in about a fortnight ; by which we shall send our 
sentiments, observations, and directions, upon the 
several advices received by the Admiral Steevens, as 
fully as so short a time will admit of." 

The Select Committee being of opinion, that Northern cir- 
opening a communication between the Northern 
Circars and Bengal would prove mutually advan- 
tageous to the presidencies of Fort St. George 
and Bengal, they determined to embrace the fa- 
vourable opportunity, which the feeble condition 
of the Mahrattas afforded, to carry the measure 
into execution; for which purpose they "set 




[Chap. IV. 


Political rela- 

on foot a negociation with their chief," proposing 
that he should cede to the Company the north- 
ern parts of Orissa, now in his possession, upon our 
paying a certain stipulated annual revenue. But 
whatever his determination might be, it was re- 
solved not to attempt gaining the advantage by 
violence or force of arms. 

The political relations of the Government ap- 
peared to be in a satisfactory state. Shuja Dowla 
was disposed to cultivate our friendship, and 
adhere strictly to the conditions of the late treaty. 
Colonel Smith's brigade was stationed at Allaha- 
bad and Benares, to secure the king and vizier 
against the invasions of the Mahrattas, until they 
had fully re-established themselves, and completed 
the payment of the stipulated indemnification to 
the Company. The king's visionary projects, of 
seating himself, with the Company's assistance, 
on the throne of his ancestors, and proceeding to 
Delhi, his capital, appeared " to have vanished" 
before the Select Committee's remonstrances; 
and they hoped that he was at length convinced 
that, without our aid, the scheme was impracti- 
cable. On this point, it was remarked, in the 
letter to the Court, " we are certain it never can 
be your interest to extend the influence of your 
arms to so great a distance from your present 
possessions and the seat of your government."* 


* Letter from Bengal, dated 31st January 1766. 

Servants called 
from Madras. 


Peace being happily restored to the provinces, nee. 
the Select Committee stated, " it would be their B£ *gal. 
study to preserve and prolong those advantages 
which had already begun to be experienced." 

To supply the places of two members of the 
Council who had resigned, of one who had been 
suspended, and of three who had evinced a total 
unfitness for the station, and in consideration of 
the extreme youth of most of the other servants, 
the Select Committee determined to call in the 
assistance of four meritorious servants from Ma- 
dras, until the pleasure of the Court of Directors 
should be known. f The proceeding occasioned 
great dissatisfaction amongst the Bengal servants, 
and led to an association against the proceedings 
of the committee, and an agreement not to visit or 
accept invitations from the Governor. " However 
puerile, it is the fact," observed his Lordship. 
The same spirit prevailed against all but one 
member of the Select Committee. The secretary 
to the Council, being at the head of the associa- 
tion, was suspended. 

After entering into these details, and pointing- 
out the remedies which his Lordship considered 
essential to be introduced in the general system 
of the service, he stated it to be his intention, so 
soon as the ships were despatched, and the gen- 
tlemen who were expected from Madras should 

* The Court of Directors approved and confirmed this step. 



[Chap. IV. 


Lord Clive pro- 
ceeds up the 

Formation of 
Lord Clive's 

have arrived, to proceed up the country, for the 
purpose of supervising in person the Company's 

Lord Clive, accompanied by General Carnac, 
accordingly, left the presidency at the close of 

On the 8th April, his Lordship addressed a 
letter to the Council, dated at Moostejeyl, stating 
that, as the receipt of a legacy did not appear to 
be prohibited by the new covenants, he had re- 
ceived from the Begum, wife of the late Nabob 
Meer Jaffier, an obligation for the sum of five lacs 
of rupees, which was bequeathed to him by the 
Nabob, a few hours before his death, in the pre- 
sence of many witnesses, whose attestations would 
be forwarded, to be laid before the Board. His 
Lordship added, that he should immediately pay 
the amount into the Company's treasury, to form 
a fund, the interest of which to be applied byway 
of pension to officers, non-commissioned officers, 
and private men, disqualified by wounds, or 
disease, or length of service, from further duty, 
and likewise to their widows who might be left in 
distressed circumstances. 

The Council were unanimously of opinion, that 
the receipt of the legacy was in no way prohibited 
by the new covenants, and expressed the lively 
sense they entertained of his Lordship's "gene- 
rous and well-placed donation." 

This act of generosity, for so it was termed by 



the Court of Directors as well as by the Council 1766. 

, t i t t Bengal. 

abroad, has not escaped severe animadversion. 
Although the legacy was left by Meer Jaffier to 
Lord Clive during his Lordship's passage to India, 
in February, 1765, it has been alleged, that it 
was the act of Jaffier's son, Nujeem-ool-Dowla, 
and that it not only partook of the character 
of a present, but was another instance of the 
acquisitions of Lord Clive, which came "sub- 
sequently" to view, and had, it may therefore 
be supposed, been previously and purposely con- 

The despatch from Bengal, announcing the 
donation, was received by the Court on the 19th 
June, 1767. Doubts having arisen whether, under 
the covenants, his Lordship could legally accept 
the bequest, the subject was brought under the 
consideration of the law-officers of the Company 
and the Crown, by some of whom it was main- 
tained, that his Lordship had a clear and legal 
right to it. To put all doubts at rest, the Court 
of Directors, on the 2d August, 1767, unanimously 1767. 
resolved, "that his Lordship be empowered to 
accept of the said legacy or donation, and they do 
highly approve of his Lordship's generosity in 
bestowing the said legacy of five lacs in so useful 
a charity ; and they hereby consent and agree to 
accept of the trust of the said fund, and will give 
directions that the same be carried into execution 
in legal and proper form." 



nee. On the 6th April, 1770, the Committee of the 

bengal. Military Fund was appointed, to carry into effect 
a deed of agreement between his Lordship and the 
Company. The sum given by Lord Clive was 
£62,833, to which the successor of Meer Jaffier 
added £37,700, together with the further sum of 
£24,128, being the interest from the Company, at 
eight per cent., on the cash notes granted on the 
two first-mentioned sums. 

It is stated, " to this ambiguous transaction the 
institution at Poplar owes its foundation." The 
institution at Poplar was founded by the old 
East-India Company, in 1627, under the de- 
signation of " Poplar Hospital/' for the pur- 
pose of relieving persons who had been employed 
in their Maritime Service. The regulations by 
which it was governed were revised in 1681, 1768, 
and 1813. 

Poplar Hospital and Lord Clive's Fund are 
separate institutions, the former having existed 
one hundred and twenty-seven years before Lord 
Clive's Fund was formed, and the sources from 
whence each derives its pecuniary means of sup- 
port being quite distinct. 
Double batta The order of the Court of Directors for the re- 
duction of double batta had been carried into 
effect in January.* Representations against that 


* General Letter to Bengal, the 9th March, 1763 :— The 
reduction of your military expenses, and particularly of your 
field-allowances, was, and is still, an object most worthy of your 




measure, couched in moderate terms, were sent 1766 - 
in from the subalterns, and a memorial was pre- 
sented from the officers of the first brigade to the 
Council. There was no apparent irritation on the 
part of the officers, and there was every reason 
to conclude that the army would remain satisfied 
until the whole subject had been brought before 
the Court of Directors for their re-consideration. 
The Council remarked that, conscious of the ne- 

serious attention. The extraordinary allowance of double batta 
is what we cannot pass over without some animadversions there- 

" The allowance of double batta is not only entirely new to 
us, but no reasons are given why of late it should be deemed 
more necessary than it was heretofore. We must observe,- that 
your compliance therewith is founded on an estimate which 
appears to us of a very extraordinary nature, with regard to 
the great number of servants said to be necessary in the field ; 
to the alleged dearness of provisions, which we have reason to 
believe is greater on the coast of Coromandel than in Bengal ; 
and also to the unprecedented expense for wearing apparel." 

Military Letter to Bengal, the 1st June, 1764 : — " We gave 
you our sentiments so fully upon the exorbitant military ex- 
penses at your presidency in our letter of the 9th March, 1763, 
that we have now only most positively to enforce the orders 
therein given, for your taking every opportunity to reduce them 
within the most frugal bounds the general good of the service 
will admit of. But with respect to the double batta, however, 
we as positively order, that immediately upon the receipt hereof, 
half of it be struck off, that is to say, all our military are to 
have single batta only, in the same manner as is allowed at our 
presidency of Fort St. George, and even this single batta we 
most earnestly recommend it to you to reduce whenever circum- 
stances wiU admit of it." 



[Chap. IV. 


Military com- 

Lord Clive's 
measures in 
subduing it. 

cessity which existed for, a reduction of the mili- 
tary expenses, they were determined to see the 
orders strictly obeyed ; at the same time, " until 
the charges incurred on account of servants, horses, 
and the necessary equipage of the field in the cli- 
mate of India, were diminished by some regula- 
tion, the allowance of a subaltern would scarcely 
maintain him in the station of a gentleman." 

During Lord Clive's stay at Moorshedabad, he 
received, on the 29th April, intelligence that a 
general combination had taken place among all 
ranks of the army under the degree of a field 
officer, with a determination to distress the Go- 
vernment by throwing up their commissions on a 
given day. 

His Lordship resolved to proceed at once to 
Monghir, where the first battalion lay in canton- 
ments. He wrote to the Council, recommending 
that all should be put to risk rather than suffer 
the authority of Government to be insulted ; and 
that he felt the saving of the half batta to be quite 
a secondary consideration, when compared with 
the danger to be apprehended from yielding to 
the menaces of so mutinous an association. 

One hundred and thirty officers had already 
subscribed to the association, and engaged to raise 
a fund, not only for the maintenance and support 
of those who should suffer, but also to enable them 
to purchase commissions in the king's service in 



An army making its own terms was so alarming 1766. 
a circumstance, that the Council fully concurred Be ngat„ 
in his Lordship's views, and resolved by every 
means to crush such a mutinous spirit in its birth 
at all hazards. Orders were given to accept all 
the resignations which might be sent in, and the 
parties who tendered them were to be sent down 
to Calcutta within twenty-four hours. 

Intelligence was shortly after received that the 
officers of the 2d and 3d brigades intended to re- 
sign on the 1st June. The firmness of the Council 
was not to be shaken ; they resolved to persevere in 
enforcing the orders, and requisitions were imme- 
diately despatched to Madras and Bombay for 
troops. The field officers and men remained firm. 
Reinforcements having arrived, reflection suc- 
ceeded to folly and madness, the officers began 
to see the absurdity of their conduct in its true 
light ; "jealousy and reproach took place in their 
councils— individuals separated themselves from 
the cause — and the offenders almost to a man 
submissively acknowledged their error, and prayed 
to be re-admitted to the service." 

It appeared that the combination had, in point 
of fact, commenced in January, and at a time 
when the disaffection amongst the civilians was 
at its height, many of whom, there was every rea- 
son to believe, had joined in instigating the revolt. 

From subsequent inquiry, it was found that 
Lieutenant-colonel Sir Robert Fletcher himself 

vol. i. m had 



[Chap. IV, 


Congress at 

had promoted the association ; he was accordingly 
placed in arrest and ordered to be tried by a court- 
martial, by whose sentence he was cashiered, and 
was sent by the Government to England in No- 

During Lord Clive's residence in Bahar, a con- 
gress was held at Chupra, at which his Lordship, 
General Carnac, Shuja Dowla, and the king's mi- 
nister, assisted. The foundation was there laid 
for a proposed treaty between the. Company, the 
vizier, and the Jaut and Rohilla chiefs, for their 
mutual defence and security against all attempts 
of the Mahrattas to invade their several dominions. 
His Lordship and General Carnac, from a con- 
sideration of the little advantage the Company 
could derive from such distant allies, left the 
matter to be arranged by Shuja Dowla, with an 
understanding that he was not to conclude any- 
thing, nor enter into any absolute engagements, 
" without having previously acquainted the Pre- 
sident with every proposal, and obtained his ap- 

Shuja Dowla was represented to have fully dis- 
charged all the engagements he had entered into 
by treaty with the Company. 

Deputies from the Mahratta chiefs had also 
attended at Chupra, with others. It appeared 
that the Mahratta forces were assembled at the 


* Letter, Select Committee, 8th September, 1766. 


requisition of the king, and upon the positive as- 1766. 
surance which he gave, that an English army Bengal. 
would join them for the purpose of escorting him 
to Delhi. The king had attempted by every arti- 
fice and persuasion, to succeed in his favourite 
scheme of proceeding to Delhi, which the Council 
were satisfied would terminate " in his own ruin, 
and in destroyiug the peace of the whole empire." 
In order to watch the movements of the Mah- 
rattas, troops were stationed on the frontiers to 
cover the Bahar provinces. 

Lord Clive and General Carnac returned to Cal- Lord ciivere- 

i • i • /-i tums t0 tlie 

cutta the 30th July, on which occasion, the Coun- Presidency. 

cil addressed a latter to his Lordship, expressive 
of their satisfaction at the success which had 
attended his measures, offering him their congra- 
tulations "on the happy issue of that prudence 
and firmness, which had been so vigorously ex- 
erted in reducing the military servants to disci- 
pline and to obedience."* 

The Nabob Nujeem-ool-Dowla died in May, 
and, leaving no issue, was succeeded by his 
brother, Syoof-ool-Dowla : a circumstance, it 
was observed, which, " had it occurred for- 
merly, might have produced important conse- 
quences in the provinces, but at that time ex- 
hibited merely the change of persons in the 


* Consultations, 30th July. 
M 2 



[Chap. IV. 


against the 

Lord Clive's 
health obliges 
him to return 
to Europe. 

The Council, being informed, by advices from 
Madras, that all the differences with Nizam Ally 
were likely to be removed, contemplated a plan 
of operations with the presidencies of Fort St. 
George and Bombay, which would effectually 
prevent their being molested in future by the 
Mahrattas, by obliging that power to confine their 
whole attention to the preservation of their own 
possessions. The Council observed : "At pre- 
sent, they are the only power who can excite 
disturbances in Bengal ; nor have we any thing 
further to apprehend, than a mere temporary 
interruption to our collections from them : hence, 
with our well-disciplined and numerous army, we 
may bid defiance to the most powerful force of 
the country that can be assembled in the field." 

The Council advised the Court, in a despatch 
of the 28th November, that Lord Clive's health 
had for some time past prevented his attending to 
public business, and that he had retired to Baraset, 
in the hope that a change of air would effect his 
speedy recovery. 

On the 12th December, his Lordship acknow- 
ledged the receipt of the Court's despatches of 
May, expressing their desire that he should con- 
tinue in the government : 

" I have had the honour to receive your letters 
of the 2d and 17th May, earnestly requesting my 
continuance in the government another year. My 
family concerns and parliamentary interests, im- 


portant as they are, should not make me hesitate 1766. 
to comply with a request which does me so much Bengal. 
honour, if the situation of your affairs demanded 
my longer service, or if the reasons which sug- 
gested to you the desire of my remaining here 
were actually now existing. The very weak con- 
dition, however, to which a severe bilious disorder 
has reduced me, requires my immediate return to 
Europe. It is now a month since I have been in 
so deplorable a state of health, as to be wholly 
unable to attend to business; and it is past a 
doubt, that I cannot survive the malignity of this 
climate another year. Thus, useless as I am be- 
come to the Company, and without the least pros- 
pect of recovery in Bengal, I cannot doubt you 
will concur with me in the opinion, of the absolute 
necessity of returning to my native country. 

" The faithful view which I will now lay before 
you of the situation of your affairs will, moreover, 
convince you, that the consequences, of which you 
are apprehensive after my departure, cannot in all 
human probability happen, and that every material 
object of my expedition is fully accomplished." 

His Lordship then stated, that a Committee of General state 

T . . t , , , n . . of affairs. 

Inspection had been appointed, for examining 
into every department, and for carrying into effect 
regulations for the general conduct of affairs. 

The spirit of opposition and extravagance had 
been subdued — a dangerous mutiny effectually 
quelled, and an example made of the ringleaders 

— stability 



[Chap. IV 


Inland trade. 

— stability had been given to the army by new 
articles of service — the conduct of the Council 
towards Shuja Dowla, in restoring him all his do- 
minions, after he had been reduced by conquest 
to the very lowest ebb of fortune — the regular 
payment to the king of the tribute, which had 
never been paid to former Moguls, excepting in 
the plentitude of 1 power and authority — the pay- 
ment of the chout to the Mahrattas, and the influ- 
ence which the invariable success of our arms had 
produced — all combined to place the interests and 
power of the Company on a firm and advantageous 
basis, and, at the same time, to convince the 
native states " that our ambition extends not 
beyond the maintenance of our present posses- 
sions, and that one of our first principles of go- 
vernment is justice/' 

Such being the true state of the case, " to what 
purpose should I continue longer in a climate, 
which would certainly prove fatal to me at 
the end of another year? I could not leave 
your concerns in better hands, nor on a more 
prosperous footing ; and you may be assured, I 
shall at all times be equally ready, in England as 
in India, to give every instance of my zeal for the 
Company's interests, in gratitude to a service 
whence I derive my fortune and my honours. " 

The unwarrantable and licentious manner in 
which the inland trade had been carried on by the 
Company's servants, led the Court of Directors to 



issue positive orders, in February, 1764, that from 1766. 
their receipt in India, a final and effectual end Bengal. 
should be put to the inland trade in salt, betel-nut, 
and tobacco, and in all other articles whatsoever, 
produced and consumed in the country. The 
receipt of these orders were acknowledged by the 
Council in their letter of the 27th September, in 
which they stated that the Nabob had been pre- 
vailed upon to come down to Calcutta, for the 
purpose, among other points, of framing regula- 
tions for the inland trade. 

The Directors in their general letter to the 
Council,* stated, that they had such entire confi- 
dence in Lord Clive's great ability and good in- 
tentions, that they had no doubt he would be able 
to carry into effect measures for correcting the 
system of private trade. They addressed a letter 
to Lord Clive personally, f in which they trusted 
that the state of affairs would admit of his atten- 
tion being immediately directed to the regulation 
of the trade in salt, betel-nut, and tobacco, so as 
to prevent the confusion and oppression that had 
sprung from the abuses practised in late years ; 
intimating, at the same time, that his Lordship 
might depend upon the Court's support. The 
plan proposed by the Select Committee consisted 
of an exclusive company, composed of the three Abolition of 

r ' i P .-, ■. . • i the exclusive 

first classes of the covenanted servants, in whom company. 


* February, 1765. f April, 1765. 


1766. was to be vested the right of trading in salt, betel- 
Benoal. nut) an( j tobacco, upon paying a certain duty. 
The management was committed to Mr. Sumner, 
and it was observed : "If the plan, therefore, 
should prove so fortunate as to meet the Court's 
approbation, the merit was chiefly due to that 
gentleman, who spared no pains to acquire a 
thorough insight into the subject ; at the same 
time that he discharged the duties of the presi- 
dency during Lord Clive's absence." 

The Court disapproved of the plan, and ob- 
served : "Much has been urged by our servants 
at different times in favour of the right to this 
trade, which we have always treated as a most 
absurd claim. The words of the phirmaund are : 
' Whatever goods the English Company shall 
bring, or carry, &c, are duty free.' To suppose 
that the court of Delhi could mean by these words 
a monopoly of the necessaries of life over their own 
subjects, is such an absurdity, that we shall not 
lose time or words in trying to refute it. 

" With respect to the Company, it is neither 
consistent with their honour nor their dignity to 
promote such an exclusive trade, as it is now more 
immediately our interest and duty to protect and 
cherish the inhabitants, and to give them no occa- 
sion to look on every Englishman as their national 
enemy, a sentiment we think such a monopoly 
would necessarily suggest. We cannot, therefore, 
approve the plan you have sent us, for trading in 



salt, betel-nut, and tobacco, or admit of this trade nee. 

in any shape whatever, and do hereby confirm our Bengal - 
former orders for its entire abolition. 

"And here we must enjoin you to have parti- court's desire 

i j c iu t0 g uara " the 

cular regard and attention to the good ot tne interests of 

, . , t n -, the natives. 

natives, whose interest and weltare are now become 
our primary care ; and we earnestly recommend 
it to you, that you take the most effectual methods 
to prevent these great necessaries of life from 
being monopolized by the rich and great amongst 
themselves, and, by that means, the poor and 
indigent becoming liable to those grievances and 
exactions, which we mean to prevent our own 
people from being guilty of." 

The Council, on the Court's orders, offered the 
following observations: — 

"We now come to speak of your instructions 
relative to the inland trade, which you very justly 
consider as the foundation of all the bloodshed, 
massacres, and confusion, which have happened 
of late years in Bengal. Your orders are positive, 
and, therefore, our obedience shall be implicit. 
Accordingly, you will observe in our proceedings, Abolition of 
that the society for conducting this branch of traffic salt, betei-nut, 
stands absolutely abolished on the 1 st day of September 
next. The contract for the present year being 
formed, and large advances made, it was impos- 
sible, without ruin to individuals and confusion 
tt) the public, to fix an earlier date for the execu- 
tion of your orders. 

" But 


1766. << But, although our duty obliges us to pay the 

strictest obedience to your peremptory orders for 
abolishing a trade to which you express so strong 
an aversion, the same duty requires we should 
freely offer our sentiments upon a subject, in which 
we think your immediate interest, the good of the 
service, and the public welfare, are deeply con- 
cerned. The Honourable Court of Directors, 
and, indeed, the whole body of Proprietors, found 
it necessary to restrain, by covenants, their civil 
and military servants from receiving those advan- 
tages to which they had for many years been 
accustomed. It is likewise proposed, in order 
that you may enjoy the real fruits of your late 
acquisitions, to make such an increase of invest- 
ment, particularly in silk, as will effectually 
deprive your servants of the usual benefits arising 
from private trade. Farther, that the revenues 
may not be injured in any degree, they are pro- 
hibited from lending money at a higher interest 
than twelve per cent, per annum ; and a trade by 
sea, in the manufactures of the country, being 
the only remaining channel for the exertion of 
industry, that, likewise, is choked up by those 
shoals of free- merchants annually imported ; who, 
being encumbered with no public business, nor 
confined to residence in Bengal, can carry on a 
free trade with every port in India, to much greater 
advantage than your servants. 

" Taking all these circumstances into consi- 
deration ; 


deration ; reflecting also upon the great increase H66. 
of luxury in late years, in consequence of the B£NGAL 
sudden influx of wealth, and that it will not be 
practicable, for a time, to reduce the charges of 
living to the present means of supporting those 
charges ; we adopted, in consequence of your 
mission, the plan of a regulated and restricted 
inland trade, as the best method of rewarding 
faithful services, the surest means to excite zeal, 
and the fairest mode of carrying on a beneficial 
trade, without relinquishing all the advantages 
we have hitherto received, or subjecting the 
natives to those encroachments on their natural 
rights, of which they have with too much reason 

"Our letter by the Camden, and proceedings 
by the Cruttenden, will explain to you the regu- 
lations in the original plan of the society, which 
took place in the month of September last. Under 
these regulations, the trade can scarce be consi- 
dered in the odious light of a monopoly, since we 
are rather the agents for manufacturing the salt, 
than the proprietors of the trade. It is sold in 
Calcutta to the natives only, and to the utter 
exclusion of all Europeans, at an easier rate than 
it could ever be produced when under the manage- 
ment of the Government, before we were admitted 
to any participation. The natives transport it to 
all the different parts of the country, under such 
limitations, that it must reach the hands of the 



1766. consumer at a stated and moderate price. Hereby, 
Bengal. ^ e p €0 pi e sensibly feel the justice and lenity of 
our government; and your servants, who have 
attained the highest stations, after a course of 
many years spent in this unfavourable climate, 
reap the reward of their services, and enjoy the 
means of securing that independence to which 
they have so equitable a claim. 

" We are now directed totally to renounce all 
share in, and benefit arising from, this trade. It 
must be made over to the natives. The govern- 
ment must, of course, come into possession ; nor 
can it be carried on otherwise than upon the 
ancient footing of farming it out to ministers, 
officers, favourities, and dependents on the govern- 
ment, who will rear immense fortunes upon the 
oppression and ruin of the public, in despite of our 
utmost influence and endeavours. These are at 
present our suspicions : time alone can verify our 
conjectures. You, no doubt, will maturely con- 
sider how far it is probable men will continue 
honest against all the seductions of private interest ; 
and whether it may not be necessary to strengthen 
the ties of that duty expected from your servants, 
by the lighter bonds of gratitude for the affluence 
which they enjoy during the time of their servi- 
tude, and the independency they ought to secure 
before the close of their labours." 
Sre ho° f e D Lord ^ ne Court of Directors, anticipating the possi- 
ciive win bility of his Lordship's beinsr enabled to continue 

remain. J i o 



in the government, addressed him, on the 4th 1767. 
March, 1767, on the general receipts of the Pre- Be * gal - 

" Without the great receipts from theDewannee, 
the Company must have been very considerable 
sufferers this year, by being disappointed of 
a great part of the investment. Most of the 
money collected, as well as the sums borrowed, 
were, we observe, applied towards carrying 
on the war, and there remained no resources, 
but such as the wealth of our servants might 
afford in return for bills on us, which we could 
not conveniently have paid, had the sum been 
very large. The amount of the expenses for 1765 
so far surpasses every idea we had conceived of it, 
that we are amazed, but hopeT your Lordship will 
be able to reduce them within the compass you 
have flattered yourself. 

" Firmly persuaded, as we are, that every step 
beyond the Caramnassa, except in a defensive 
war, will lead to the irretrievable ruin of our affairs, 
it is with great pleasure we observe your strong 
opposition to every measure that tends to the 
marching our troops with the King to Delhi. 

" We are much pleased to see that the obtaining 
the execution of the treaty from Shuja Dowla is 
one of the objects of your Lordship's and General 
Carnac's expedition to the northward. We are 
anxious to have this measure effected, that the 
brigade at Illiabad may be recalled, and the 



1767. powers of Indostan convinced we have no further 
bengal. object than to maintain the tranquillity of the 
Bengal provinces. 

" We read with extreme regret your Lordship's 
intentions to leave Bengal the ensuing season; the 
more so, as an infirm state of health, and the dis- 
agreeable circumstances that have attended your 
administration, are the occasions of it. We do not 
wonder that the difficulties you had to encounter, 
from the interested opposition of almost the whole 
body of our servants, should have impaired your 
health ; but we observe with pleasure, your public- 
spirited measures meet with no further opposition 
from the Council, since the Madras gentlemen 
have taken their seats at the Board.* We hope 
this will relieve your Lordship from your extreme 
application, and promote your recovery. We assure 
ourselves, too, it will be some pleasure to you to 
see that your conduct has had our approbation 
and firmest support. We can add nothing that 
will more strongly shew the sense we entertain of 
it and of your services, than to repeat our earnest 
request that you will continue another year in the 
government, to perfect the plan your Lordship has 
so judiciously formed, and prosecuted with so 
much zeal and spirit. Your Lordship will excuse 
our pressing this point so earnestly, when we 
assure you how essential we deem it to the 


* Vide page 155. 


permanency of our affairs. We need not point ne?. 
out how much yet remains to attain that end. The Bkngal. 
military seem hardly yet reconciled to that system 
of economy, without which it is plain no revenue 
could suffice for the growing expenses of the 
army." His Lordship's health, however, did not 
permit of his extending his period of service in 

He quitted Bengal in the Britannia, on the 29th 
January, 1767. The Council announced his de- 
parture in the following terms : " Lord Clive has Lord ctive 
found his health so much impaired by his late qin 
severe indisposition, that he is under the necessity 
of returning to England by the first opportunity, 
and takes his passage on board the Britannia. We 
cannot but regard it as a very happy circumstance, 
that, at such a juncture, your affairs here have 
been restored to so favourable a situation, by the 
plan which his Lordship had adopted, and had 
pursued with so much steadiness and persever- 
ance." General Carnac returned on board the 
same ship to England. 

On the 17th July, 1767, Lord Clive was intro- Arrives in 
duced to the Court of Directors, when the Chair- Recedes the 
man, in the name of the Court, expressed their thecou?" 
most sincere and hearty congratulations to him on onifs^mnTent 
his arrival in his native country, after having ex- 
ceeded the Court's most sanguine expectations, 
not only in the very eminent services he had 
rendered the Company, by his wise and judicious 



1767. administration of their affairs, during his residence 
Bengal. - -Q en ^\ 9 b ut a i so by that most prudent and 

well-formed plan he had digested for the regula- 
tion of the conduct of the Select Committee ; and 
that it was impossible by force of words to repre- 
sent to his Lordship the high sense of gratitude 
the Court entertained for the constant attention 
given by his Lordship to the Company's interests. 

On the 23d September, the General Court, in 
consideration of the important services rendered 
to the Company by Lord Clive, recommended to, 
and authorized, the Court of Directors to make a 
grant, under the Company's seal, to his lordship, 
and his personal representatives, of a further term 
of ten years on his jaghire. The indenture grant- 
ing the same was approved and engrossed in Oc- 
tober following. 

Mr. Verelst succeeded Lord Clive in the govern- 

The Council, in their despatch to the Court, of 
February, alluding to the state of the Company's 
interests in Bengal, observed : 
council's tes- " We should be wanting in the just praises of 

timony to Lord . . 

ciive's merits, superior merit, and in gratitude for the essential 
services performed by Lord Clive, if we failed to 
acknowledge that, to the prudence and vigour of 
his administration, you are chiefly to ascribe the 
present flourishing condition of your affairs. Firm 
and indefatigable in his pursuits, he joined, to the 
weight of personal character, a zeal for your ser- 


vice, and a knowledge of your interests, which 17G7 
could not but insure success." BumAL 

They then drew a comparison between the state comparison of 
of the country on his Lordship's arrival, in 1765, count^Vhen 6 
and that in which he left it on his departure for rived an^when 
England, in January, 1767 : he left 

" We beheld a Presidency divided, headstrong 
and licentious ; a government without nerves ; a 
treasury without money, and a service without 
subordination, discipline, or public spirit. We may 
add that, amidst a general stagnation of useful 
industry and of licensed commerce, individuals 
were accumulating immense riches, which they had 
ravished from the insulted prince and his helpless 
people, who groaned under the united pressure of 
discontent, poverty, and oppression. 

" Such was the condition of this presidency and 
of these provinces. Your present situation need 
not be described. The liberal supplies to China, 
the state of your treasury, of your investment, of 
the service, and of the whole country, declare it 
to be the strongest contrast to what it was. 

" We repeat," added the Committee, " what we 
have already declared to Lord Clive, that no mo- 
tive, no consideration, shall ever induce us to 
depart from that system of politics which has been 
recommended to us by precept and example, un- 
less some very extraordinary event and unforeseen 
change should occur in the posture of your affairs." 

One of the Company's covenanted servants, and 

vol. i. n all 


1767. all the officers who had subscribed an address to 
bengal. g ir Robert pi e tcher, after he had been cashiered 
by sentence of a court-martial, were dismissed by 
the Council from the Company's service. 
shah Abdaiiah. j n the month of March, the Council, having re- 
ceived undoubted intelligence of the advance of 
Shah Abdaiiah towards Delhi, (supposed to be 
instigated by Cossim Ally Khan,) took measures 
to support the King and Shuja Dowla, against 
whose territories the expedition was intended to 
have been ultimately directed. They felt that it 
was impossible to remain inactive spectators of an 
invasion which threatened to overwhelm the poli- 
tical system of all India. Nothing but the Com- 
pany's influence prevented the King from making 
undue submission. Their demonstrations had the 
desired effect. Abdaiiah returned to Lahore, 
having compromised, for the sum of twenty-five 
lacs, his demands on the native powers. In his 
retreat, he experienced great obstructions from 
the Seiks, who were stated to be his irreconcileable 

The plan of the Council had been one of de- 
fence. They purposely avoided making proposi- 
tions to the Jauts, the Rohiilas, or the Mahrattas, 
that they might stand clear from all troublesome 
engagements, considering the Company's security 
" to consist in the continuance of the balance of 
power, which it was their great object to maintain 
in India." 


Chap. IV] 




The many unforeseen dangers and sudden irrup- i?67. 
tions, to which the Company's possessions in Bengal 
were continually exposed, induced the Council to 
press for the completion of the military establish- 
ment proposed by Lord Clive.* * That being 
maintained, the Company's revenues and possess- 
sions would be defended against the most consi- 
derable powers of the country." 

The Mahratta leaders, Ragonaut Rao and Jano- 
jee, the chief of Nagpore, having reconciled their 
differences., the expectation of acquiring Cuttack 
was rendered hopeless, and led to a suspicion 
that a junction would take place between the 
Soubah, Hyder, and the Mahrattas, against Ben- 
gal ; but as affairs were in a state of tranquil- 
lity, the Council resolved to give every possible aid 
to the Madras Presidency, in the hope that the 
power of Hyder might be reduced. 

The King and Shu ja Dowla were represented to 
be " more united to us, both by inclination and vTzi^towan 
interest." Sensible that the security of their pos- the Com P an y 
sessions, as well as the degree of consideration 
they held in the empire, depended upon our friend- 
ship, they were desirous to govern their conduct 
by principles the most likely to promote an ami- 
cable understanding with the Company. The 
third brigade was stationed with them, at their 
request, and a detachment from the second brigade 


* Letter to Court, 10th April, 1767. 
is 2 

Sentiments of 



1767. had crossed the Caramnassa, with the view of sup- 
Bencal. p or ting what the Council felt to be the basis of 
the Company's alliance with the King and the 
Nabob, they agreeing to defray all extra charges : 
so that the Company incurred no extraordinary 
expense by the motion of these troops beyond the 
limits of the provinces. Chunagurwas garrisoned 
by the Company's forces. The Council added : 
"it is nevertheless our intention to recall all your 
forces, and punctually to observe your directions, 
whenever the disturbances which now prevail 
among the neighbouring powers will not endanger 
our own safety." 
The Jauts. Jewaher Sing, the chief of the Jauts, was at the 
head of an army, endeavouring to recover the ter- 
ritory of which he had been dispossessed by the 
Mahrattas. He entered the Rohilla country, and 
advanced within a few miles of the King's do- 
minions. Colonel Smith was directed to remain 
with the third brigade until his intentions were 
more fully developed. 

The Council received, in the month of April, a 
pressing invitation from the Rajah of Nepaul, for 
aid against the Rajah of Goorcullah, * by whom 
he had been deprived of his country, and shut up 
in his capital. Although they felt that such a 
military enterprize was foreign to the system of 
politics by which they proposed to regulate their 


* Now known as the Goorkah Rajah, 


conduct, they determined, after much delibera- 1768. 
tion, to send an expedition to Nepaul in support Bencal - 
of the Rajah, between whose country and that of Expedition to 
Bahar an advantageous trade had been carried on, epau 
and a considerable quantity of gold imported into 
Bengal. It was observed, that the vicinity of 
Nepaul to the Bettea country, which was in quiet 
possession of the Vizier, would bring additional 
commercial advantages ; so that the Council enter- 
tained very flattering prospects of the issue of an 
expedition, of which " they hoped to send home a 
good account at the close of the season."* 

Their anticipations were not realized. Cap- 
tain Kinloch, who had been entrusted with the 
command, found it necessary to apply for rein- 
forcements, without which he did not expect to 
succeed. This requisition occurring at the mo- 
ment when the aid was required in support of the ^"011^ 8X " 
operations against Hyder, the expedition was 
recalled. Part of the lands belonging to the 
Goorcullah Rajah, bordering on the Bettea coun- 
try, both rich and fertile, were kept to indem- 
nify the charge already incurred. 

The Mahratta chief, Janoiee, in demanding the Proposed ces. 

J & sion of CuU 

chout, which had been regularly paid during the tack- 
latter part of Aliverdy Khan's government, mani- 
fested a desire to treat for the cession of Cuttack 
to the Company. The President had several con- 

* Letter, 25th September, 1767. 



LChap. IV. 


Chain of Com- 
pany's influ- 

Revenues in 

Court's views 
as to policy 

To promote 
happiness of 
the natives. 

ferences with Janojee's vakeel, in conjunction with 
Mahomed Reza Khan, who had arrived at the Pre- 
sidency. The annual payment, for the cession and 
the chout, it was proposed to fix at sixteen lacs, 
to be accounted for from the time the Company 
took charge of the Dewanny. An arrangement 
was prepared, but never finally acted upon. The 
object of the Council was to form a complete chain 
of the Company's influence and dominion, from 
the banks of the Caramnassa to the extremity of 
the Coast of Coromandel. 

In noticing the state of the revenues in Bahar, 
the Council remarked upon the small balance 
which was irrecoverable ; and pointed out the great 
advantages anticipated from the tour of inspec- 
tion and examination by the Company's servants 
selected for that duty " in Bahar, and in the 
Dinagepore and Purnea countries." The Zemindars 
were stated to have been guilty of frauds, embez- 
zlements, and even crimes of an atrocious character. 
The Court of Directors communicated to the 
Council at Calcutta their sentiments on the lead- 
ing points in the advices from Bengal. They en- 
joined the Council : — 

" Not to increase the revenues by any way 
which may oppress the inhabitants, whose hap- 
piness and prosperity we are desirous of cultivating 
upon every occasion, as it is upon their affections 
and confidence the permanency of our possessions 
will greatly depend. 

" Never 


" Never to extend your possessions beyond their 1768. 

. . -, Bengal. 

present bounds. Keep within 

" Never to engage in a march to Delhi, nor p^sem bounds. 
enter into an offensive war, unless urged to it in 
pursuance of our treaty with the King and Shuja 
Dowla for the preservation of their dominions ; 
and whenever called upon to march any troops for 
that purpose, to have Allahabad, Chunar, or some 
fortification, put in our possession. 

" If these rules are strictly adhered to, we shall 
flatter ourselves our power and advantages in 
Bengal will obtain that permanency we have so 
long laboured at. 

" We have paid much attention to vour neofo- As to obtaining 

. . - i t • /• t i i Orissa from the 

ciations with Janojee for settling the chout on the Mahrattas. 
terms agreed between the Mahrattas and Aliverdy 
Khan. We think it both equity and sound policy 
to pay them their chout, and shall much approve 
it, if it can be done on the terms you mention, of 
their ceding to us their possessions in Orissa, 
which would join our Bengal possessions to the 
Circars, and would afford us the means of pre- 
venting any hostile attempts of an European enemy 
who might land in that part of Orissa. 

1 ' From what appears in your proceedings, we caution as to 
think we discern too great an aptness to confede- inSpowers 
racies or alliances with the Indian powers : on 
which occasion, we must give it you as a general 
sentiment, that perfidy is too much the characteris- 
tic of Indian princes, for us to rely on any security 




1768. with them. But should you enter into a treaty to 
Bengal. act m concer t with them in the field, one of our 
principal officers is to command the whole : a pre- 
eminence our own security and our superior mili- 
tary skill will entitle us to. 
Troops at Alia- ." As all our views and expectations are con- 
fined within the Caramnassa, we are impatient to 
hear our troops are recalled from Allahabad. 

" As it seems not impossible that Shuja Dowla 
may undertake to escort the King to Delhi, it be- 
comes necessary we should give you our idea of 
the proper conduct to be held on that occasion, 
which entirely coincides with Lord Clive's opinion 
in his letter to the Select Committee, that to 
march any part of our army on such an expedition 
might bring on the total ruin of our affairs ; and 
we add, that, should you be persuaded into so 
rash and dangerous a measure, we shall deem you 
responsible for all the consequences ; and as such 
a measure would be attended with the greatest 
danger to our affairs, be assured we shall be ex- 
tremely jealous of every one high in our service, 
civil or military, who shews a tendency to such 
an expedition. 

" The only precautions we would recommend 
against Shuja Dowla's military progress, are, to 
prevent Europeans as much as possible from en- 
gaging in his service, and to be very watchful that 
no cannon, fire-arms, or artillery stores, find their 
way by the Ganges into his dominions. 

" Every 


" Every method must be tried to get Monsieur 1768. 
Gentil, and every European, from his country, b* n <* al - 
observing to use therein such means as shall not 
hurt the dignity or independency of Shuja Dowla, 
or leave room for the French to construe them as 
violations of the friendship between the two 

" As we look with a favourable eye on every 
attempt for the extension of commerce, we do not 
disapprove the expedition to Nepaul, and are 
sorry it failed of success. You did right not to 
renew the expedition till the state of your forces 
would better admit of it, and to hold in your pos- 
session lands taken from the Goorkah Rajah, as 
an indemnification for the expenses we had been 
put to ; and they may be of use, should it here- 
after be thought proper to renew the attempt, and 
we hope their amount has answered your expec- 
tations." f 

The extent of the French forces in the Indian French influ- 
seas was brought to the notice of the Court by 
the Council, who stated that ten ships were ex- 
pected from France, seven of which, the French 
alleged, were either to be sold or to remain in 
India. Four thousand of his most Christian Ma- 
jesty's troops were at the islands, and more were 
anticipated. " So alarming a force, at a place from 


* Letter to Bengal, 16th March, 1768. 
f Letter to Bengal, 1 1 th* November, 1768. 



[Chap. IV. 

1768. whence it is very difficult to procure the least in- 
Bengal. formation of their designs has induced us to have 
a very vigilant eye over our fortifications. It re- 
quires no great depth of judgment to foresee, that 
the assembling such a number of forces at the 
French islands can bode no good to your settle- 
ments in India. Nor are we without apprehen- 
sions, that, whenever the French are in a condition 
to cope with our nation in Europe, they will make 
some attempt on India : and even this may happen 
previous to a declaration of war, as, from the 
situation of the islands, they are masters of their 
own time and operations. " A similar impression 
was entertained by the Council at Madras. 

The following outline gives the position of 
the Company, towards the different powers 
of Hindostan, by whom the public tranquillity 
might have been essentially disturbed at that 
Review of the The first great cause of British security was attri- 
dostan! ° " buted to the general indigence of the Mogul em- 
pire, produced in a great measure by the invasion 
of Nadir Shah,* which gave a mortal blow to the 
overgrown wealth and arrogance of the Omrahs ; 
but its effects were not immediately felt beyond the 
capital. The irruption of the Mahrattas ensued. 
Their undistinguishing rapine plunged cities and 
countries on the south side of the Ganges, from 

* In 1739. 


near the frontier of Bahar on the east, to Sirhind 176& 
on the north and west, into misery and distress, Bengal - 
The expedition of Shah Abdallah followed: his 
operations were principally confined to the Pun- 
jab, yet the vast sums he levied were felt severely 
throughout the country. The decrease of specie 
produced a decay of trade and a diminution of 
cultivation. Although that cause was somewhat 
mitigated in the Company's provinces by the im- 
portation of bullion, yet in Benares and Mirzapore, 
the fact appeared to be beyond dispute. The 
financial means of the several powers being very 
limited, new levies were made by each, when 
hostilities against any were contemplated, the die 
being cast on a single campaign ; their resources 
not admitting of their maintaining a second. The 
circumstance which tended to the security of the 
Company, was the discordancy of the principles, 
views, and interests of those neighbouring powers. 

The majority of the princes of Hindostan had The Native 
no natural right in the countries which they pos- piu 
sessed. In the general wreck of the monarchy, 
every man seized what fortune threw in his way, 
and was rather studious to maintain it than to 
grasp at more. Hence the principal disturbances 
were to be traced to the Mahrattas, the Seiks, 
and Shah Abdallah, whose views were extended 
more to plunder than territorial acquisitions. 
Thus situated, it was in the power of the Com- 
pany, with a watchful and active administration, 




[Chap. IV. 


The King of 

Shuja Dowla. 


to hold the general balance of Hindostan, and 
crush any combination. Allahabad was pointed 
out as the key of the surrounding territories. Its 
vicinity to the several countries of Shuja Dowla, 
the Rohillas, Jauts, and Mahrattas, accordingly 
determined the Council to retain a brigade out of 
the Company's provinces. 

The King, Shah Alum, retained little of the au- 
thority or dominions of his ancestors, but what he 
derived from the Company. 

Shuja Dowla was the next ally of the Company; 
and, if gratitude could bind any man, the Company 
had the strongest hold upon him. His dominions, 
excepting the zemindarry of Bulwunt Sing, were 
on the north of the Ganges, and extended to the 
hills. He was considered well fitted to accomplish 
the Company's main point, of maintaining them- 
selves as the umpires of Hindostan, rather than an 
enemy who, from his strength or situation, could 
occasion them any uneasiness or trouble. 

The Rohilla chiefs held districts immediately 
contiguous to those of the King and Shuja Dowla. 
The principal ones were Ahmed Khan Bungish, 
Hafez Rahmet Khan, and JNijib-ul-Dowla, besides 
several of less importance, such as Dunedy Khan, 
Surdar Khan, &c. Though all were independent 
of each other, yet they derived their power from 
one stock, being of one tribe, that of Ally Mahom- 
med Khan. Their joint forces were estimated at 
eighty thousand effective horse and foot. Their 



native hardiness, their dexterity with the sword, itgs. 
their skill in the use of war-rockets, ranked them Be * gal - 
in higher estimation than the ordinary Hindostan 
troops, and they were looked upon as a rising 

The territories of Ahmed Khan Bungish imme- 
diately bordered on the Corah country, Furrucka- 
bad being the capital. The possessions of Hafez 
Rahmet Khan joined the western limits of Shuja 
Dowla's dominions ; they laid entirely on the north 
side of the Ganges, except Etawah and one or two 
other straggling pergunnahs. Those of Nijib-ul- 
Dowla were bounded by Sirhind on the west, and, 
beginning on the Jumna, seven coss east of Delhi, 
swept across the peninsula, to the northward of 
the Ganges, so as to join Hafez Khan's and 
Dunedy Khan's western frontiers. 

The dominions of Jewaher Sing, or the country Jauts. 
of the Jauts, extended in the peninsula from Agra, 
to within a few coss of Delhi on the west, and near 
to Etawah on the east. They possessed three 
forts, then deemed impregnable, and were in the 
receipt of a revenue of nearly two crores. 

Jewaher Sing was at war with Maharaja Madhu 
Sing, who possessed a large tract of country south- 
west of Delhi, and a revenue of a crore of rupees. 
Few could compare with Madhu Sing for the 
antiquity of his family, or the fame of his ances- 
tors. His subjects were chiefly Rajpoots, born 
to war ; the cultivators of his lands in time of 



1768. peace, and their undaunted defenders in the field. 
bengal. p rou d f their ancient glory, they disdained to fly, 
and rushed with intrepidity to certain death or 
victory. It was stated, that, in a late engagement 
with the Jauts, their horse rode up through the 
fire of ninety pieces of cannon and all the mus- 
ketry of the sepoys, till they came to swords, and, 
though thrice repulsed, renewed the attack, and 
were ultimately successful. 

seiks. The Seiks' country commenced as far west as 

Sirhind. Their distance was thought to render it 
almost needless to mention them. Their rise was 
most extraordinary, from the lowest ebb of national 
weakness to a respectable power : their tribe, 
originally not more than ten thousand, amounting 
to eighty thousand fit for arms, possessing all the 
fertile country between Sirhind and Attok. Their 
power to repel or even to ruin an invader, was 
evinced in Shah Abdallah's expedition. 

Such is the outline of the powers, exclusive of 
the Mahrattas, with which the Company had to 
deal at that period. In Bengal, a maintenance of 
a good understanding with the whole, was consi- 
dered to be the wisest course of policy ; and the 
Company's united force and means, the best pre- 
servative of peace. 

vizier C suspi- he Suspicions had been excited, at the commence- 
ment of this year, regarding the views and inten- 
tions of the Vizier. In the months of July and 
August, reports reached the Council that he had 




made great progress in the new levies of troops ; im 
that he had invited auxiliaries into his service 
when tranquillity seemed to reign throughout the 
empire ; that he was forming connexions with 
foreign powers, and had established a foundry, 
which already supplied him with a great quantity 
of cannon for field service; and his "amazing 
improvement in making small arms," by no means 
inferior to the best imported into India, combined 
to impress the Council with the necessity of arriv- 
ing at some degree of certainty as to his future 

The line of policy to be observed towards Shuja 
Dowla was brought under the consideration of the 
Select Committee at the close of July. 

No difference of opinion existed as to the ne- 
cessity of some decided measures being taken to 
curb the ambitious spirit of the Vizier. His ob- 
ject was to obtain possession of the provinces of 
Corah and Allahabad. In order to gain over 
Colonel Smith, in promoting its attainment, he 
visited that officer in the early part of the year 
at Allahabad, and " proffered him four lacs of 
rupees in ready money, and to swear secresy 
on the Alcoran, if he would aid in its accomplish- 

At an interview which Colonel Smith had sub- 
sequently with the King, his Majesty stated with 


* Secret Consultations, 3d August, 1768. 


1768. emotion, that the Vizier had applied to him for 

Bengal. ^ e same p ur p se, but without success ; adding, 

" it should seem Shuja Dowla did not wish him to 

have an habitation of his own on the face of the 


Colonel Smith animadverted upon the delay 
which had occurred in adopting measures against 
Shuja Dowla. The President considered that no 
material inconvenience had arisen from delay, and 
on the 3d August recorded a minute, in which he 
proposed that the Vizier should be required, in the 
presence of the King, to reduce his forces within 
a given number, and that his Majesty's injunctions 
should be previously ensured to the same effect. 

Colonel Smith was opposed to the President's 
plan. From the knowledge which he had, both 
of the King and the Vizier, he apprehended that 
a war would prove the unavoidable consequence ; 
for, if the King should require of Shuja Dowla 
to disband any part of his forces, his haughty dis- 
position would induce him to treat such orders 
with contempt, or he might answer, as Jewaher 
Sing had lately answered to an order of the King, 
(i that when his Majesty shall regulate the twenty- 
two Soubahs of this empire, he will not be among 
the latest to shew obedience." Colonel Smith 
suggested, that a letter might be so framed as to 
press upon the Vizier, in friendly but forcible 
terms, the views and opinions of the Council, and 
that an embassy should accompany it, which he 



had no doubt would effectually accomplish their i7C8. 
desire : he likewise proposed, that the second Bengal. 
brigade should move to the Caramnassa. 

After much discussion, and also differences of Deputation to 

. . ~ the Vizier. 

opinion as to the powers assumed by Colonel 
Smith in his military capacity, the Select Com- 
mittee resolved, on the 17th August, to address 
two letters to the Vizier, and appointed a depu- 
tation, consisting of Mr. Cartier and Colonel 
Smith, members of the Select Committee, and 
Mr. Claude Russell, member of council, to proceed 
to the Vizier at Allahabad, 

The first letter stated that the Council urged a 
reduction of his forces, in order that all appre- 
hensions as to the maintenance of a good under- 
standing between him and the Company might 
be removed. The second letter was to be pre- 
sented in the event of the first failing to gain the 
Vizier's consent to the proposed reduction, after 
the King's commands had been issued to him for 
that purpose. 

To alleviate the odium he might incur from a 
diminution of his forces, it was proposed that 
the supernumeraries should be tendered as re- 
cruits to the Company's brigades. Nothing was 
to be omitted which might lead to an amicable 
adjustment. They were likewise instructed to re- 
present to the King and Shuja Dowla, the neces- 
sity of providing a fund for the payment of the 
troops at Allahabad, and to suggest, that two or 

vol. i. o three 



[Chap. IV. 


Deputation to 

three circars belonging to the Soubah of Allaha- 
bad, of which the Hindooput Rajah had possessed 
himself, should be obtained for that purpose. 

The deputation reached Benares on the 17th 
November. The Vizier arrived there the follow- 
ing day, having declined the meeting at Allaha- 
bad. At the first conference, Shuja Dowla mani- 
fested every disposition to fall in with the views 
of the deputation ; but at the next and subsequent 
interviews he evinced a totally different feeling. 
He enlarged on the state of his troops in former 
times ; he insisted that he was not restricted to 
any particular number ; that he had in no shape 
infringed the last treaty, and that it was surprising 
it should now be thought necessary to limit his 
forces. The same demand he observed might, with 
equal justice, be made on the Rohillas. The de- 
putation, finding all expostulation vain, delivered 
the Committee's letter to the Vizier. After much 
discussion, he declared, with firmness, that he 
never would willingly reduce his force below 
35,000 men, of which 8,000 should be horse. 
The low state of the Company's treasury, the 
arrears due to the troops, the situation of affairs 
on the coast, where success depended on supplies 
from Bengal, and the tenour of the Court's orders, 
made the Council most anxious to avoid all risk 
of a war, which might be hazarded by impos- 
ing conditions ''too mortifying for his haughty 
spirit." They therefore consented to the 35,000 



men beirfg retained ; but stipulated the vari- r/cs. 
ous bodies of which that force should consist. Bencjal - 
To this the Vizier would not accede. The sepoys 
were fixed at 7,000 only ; he insisted upon 1 0,000. 
Having arranged for the regular troops, he pro- 
posed that the irregulars, together with the mode 
of discipline, should be left to his option, and in- 
timated his intention to go down to Calcutta, un- 
less the point was conceded. 

The tone assumed by the Vizier induced the Negotiation 

J with Vizier. 

deputation to break off the negotiation, and to 
announce their intention to proceed to the royal 
presence on the ensuing morning. This intima- 
tion had the desired effect. Shuja Dowla sent a 
message the following day to the deputation, when 
departing for Allahabad, stating that he was afraid 
they "had not rightly understood him." The 
deputation replied through Captain Harper, who 
came from the Vizier, that unless he acquiesced 
in what they had proposed, a further meeting 
was needless, and that they should persevere in 
their resolution to proceed to Allahabad. This 
communication produced a concession on the 
part of the Vizier to the modified terms. An 
agreement was dj?awn out and signed on the 19th 
November, confirming the former treaty, and sti- 
pulating that he should not entertain a greater 
number than 35,000 men, of which 10,000 were 
to be cavalry ; ten battalions of sepoys ; the Nujib 
regiment, 5, 000, with matchlocks, to remain always 

o 2 at 



[Chap. IV. 

H68. at its then establishment ; five hundred for the 
Bengal. artillery, and that number never to be exceeded ; 
the remaining 9,500 were to be irregulars, neither 
to be clothed, armed, or disciplined, " after the 
manner of English sepoys." So long as the Vi- 
zier adhered to these articles, no matter was to be 
introduced in addition to what had been now 
agreed to. The arrangement was fully approved 
by the Council at Calcutta, who passed a resolu- 
tion of thanks, on the 25th January, to the depu- 
tation for their services. The Nabob accompanied 
the deputies to Allahabad, and was received in 
the royal presence in quality of Vizier. 

The views of the Directors on the proceedings 

of the Council were despatched to Bengal in the 

following year. 

court's views "We have constantly enjoined you to avoid 

STgsas'toShuja every measure that might lead you into further 

Dowia. connexions, and have recommended you to use 

your utmost endeavour to keep peace in Bengal 

and with the neighbouring powers ; and you, on 

your part, have not been wanting in assurances of 

your resolution to conform to these our wishes. 

" Yet, in the very instructions which you have 
given to the deputies sent up to Shuja Dowla with 
professions of friendship, you have inserted an 
article, which will not only give fresh cause of 
jealousy to Shuja Dowla, but engages you like- 
wise in disputes with other powers still more 



" We mean the article whereby they are di- 1768. 
rected to apply to the King for a grant of two or Bengal. 
three circars, which belonged, you say, originally 
to the Eliabad province, but were unlawfully pos- 
sessed, some time since, by the Hindooput Rajah. 

" Is it our business to inquire into the rights of 
the Hindooput Rajah, and the usurpations he may 
have made upon others ? And, supposing the fact 
to be proved, does such an injustice on his part 
give us any claim to the disputed districts ? 

" If the districts in question belong to the Elia- 
bad province, they are a part of Shuja Dowla's un- 
doubted inheritance ; and supposing him to waive 
his right, you cannot send a man nor a gun for 
defence of these new acquisitions without passing 
through his country, which will be a perpetual 
source of dispute and complaint. 

" Nor does the mischief stop here. The Hin- 
dooput Rajah, who, by all accounts, is rich, will 
naturally endeavour to form alliances, to defend 
himself against this unexpected attack of the 
English. Then you will say your honour is en- 
gaged, and the army is to be led against other 
powers still more distant. 

" You say nothing in your letters of this very 
essential article of your instructions to the de- 

" In several of our letters, since we have been 


* Letter to Bengal, 11th May, 1769. 


1768, engaged as principals in the politics of India, and 
Bengal, particularly during the last two or three years, we 
have given it as our opinion, that the most prudent 
system we could pursue, and the most likely to 
be attended with a permanent security to our pos- 
sessions, would be to incline to those few chiefs of 
Hindoostan, who yet preserve an independence of 
the Mahratta power, and are in a condition to strug- 
gle with them ; for so long as they are able to 
keep up that struggle, the acquisitions of the 
Company will run the less risk of disturbance. 

M The Rohillas, the Jauts, the Nabob of the 
Deccan, the Nabob of Oude, and the Mysore 
chief, have each in their turn kept the Mahrattas 
in action, and we wish them still to be able to do 
it ; it is, therefore, with great concern we see the 
war continuing with Hyder Naigue, and a pro- 
bability of a rupture with Shuja Dowla and 
Nizam Ally. In such wars, we have everything 
to lose, and nothing to gain : for, supposing our 
operations be attended with the utmost success, 
and our enemies reduced to our mercy, we can 
only wish to see them restored to the condition 
from which they set out ; that is, to such a degree 
of force and independence as may enable them 
still to keep up the contest with the Mahrattas and 
with each other. It would give us therefore, the 
greatest satisfaction to hear that matters are ac- 
commodated, both at Bengal and on the coast : 
and in case such a happy event shall have taken 



place, you will do your utmost to preserve the 1769. 
tranquillity."* bengal. 

In July, 1769, the proceedings of the French Differences 

J r & with the French 

led to a belief that they meditated some move- at chandema- 


ment against the Company's settlements. Under 
the plea of repairing a drain round the town of 
Chandernagore, to prevent the effects of inunda- 
tions, which it was represented had proved fatal 
to the inhabitants, they carried the works to such 
an extent as to create strong suspicions. A field- 
officer was accordingly deputed from Calcutta, in 
a public capacity, for the purpose of examining 
and reporting upon the state of the works. The 
result satisfied the Council that their suspicions 
were too well founded. The proceeding was an 
infraction of the eleventh article of the Treaty of 
Paris ; and having remonstrated ineffectually, 
they required that the works should be destroyed. 
The French not only refused compliance with the 
requisition, but carried them on with more vigour ; 
in consequence of which, the Council gave pe- 
remptory orders for their demolition. This, and 
subsequent acts regarding the French in Bengal, 
gave rise to representations from the French Court 
to that of St. James's. The arrangements pro- 
jected for adjusting the difference,f will be found 
to have involved the Company's representatives in 


* Letter to Bengal, 30th June, 1769. 

f Letter to Bengal from the Court of Directors, 27th June 



1769. serious discussions, with the accredited agent on 
Bkngal. the part af the Crown. 

Mogul deter- The President, when at Bauleah, in the month 

mines to pro- 
ceed to Delhi, of May, received a letter from the Mogul, an- 
nouncing his determination to proceed forthwith 
to Delhi, with the troops of his Vizier, in order to 
take possession of the throne and dominions of his 
ancestors, and applying for the aid of two batta- 
lions of sepoys and some field-pieces, agreeably 
to an alleged promise of Lord Clive, whenever he 
should march towards his capital. The Council 
considered the intended requisition favourable to 
council resolve the recall of the forces from Allahabad. Having, 

to aid his views. , ° 

therefore, deliberated on the orders of the Court, 
they determined to grant the King the aid which 
he requested. At the moment when the enter- 
prize was to be commenced, the King's minister, 
Munerah-ud-Dowlah, on returning from the royal 
durbar, was accosted within the precincts of the 
palace by his majesty's guards, who, in a tumul- 
tuous manner, demanded an increase of pay and 
the arrears then due. The reply of the Nabob 

1770: — " His Majesty has constituted Sir John Lindsay his 
plenipotentiary for examining into the supposed infractions of 
the late treaty of peace, you will afford him the necessary infor- 
mation and assistance, whereby he may be enabled to answer 
the complaints of the French plenipotentiary, to justify your 
conduct, and to defend those rights of the British Crown 
which were obtained by express stipulation in the Treaty of 
Paris, and which appear to have been invaded by the pro- 
ceedings of the French at Chandernagore." 


being unsatisfactory, one of the inferior officers 1760. 
drew his sword, with an intent to destroy him, and Bengal. 
would have effected his purpose, but for a faithful 
Coffrey, who exposed his own life to save that of 
the Nabob ; the latter escaped, but six of his fol- 
lowers fell a sacrifice. The King sent for General 
Smith : on enquiry, it did not appear that any 
arrears were due, and there was strong reason to 
believe it to be a design formed by some people of 
rank to destroy the Nabob. Munerah-ud-Dowla 
shortly after retired from the Court, with the per- 
mission of the King, and resided at Patna. 

At the same time, three of the best battalions vizier's troops 
in Shuja Dowla's service took up arms against 
him. They were repelled, and a severe example 
was made by the Vizier, w r ho conducted himself 
with great energy. The event lessened his con- 
fidence in his troops, and tended to reconcile 
him to the reduction to which he had been 
constrained to submit. Upon being urged to dis- vizier's appeal 
miss from his presence M. Gentil, in accordance m. dentil, 
with the promise which he had made to the Coun- 
cil, he stated, " that if it was insisted upon, he 
should comply ; but that, at a time when the 
hand of adversity was upon him, when all those 
whom he had clothed and fed forsook him, wjien 
he was abandoned by his own countrymen and by 
those of the same religion, this man, who was a 
stranger, of a different nation and different reli- 
gion, forgot him not, but partook of his misfor- 



[Chap. IV. 


Mogul defers 
proceeding to 

tunes. What a reflection will it then be upon 
me, if I am obliged to chase this man from my 
dominions! Assure the English chiefs, that I 
will be responsible that he shall never do any- 
thing to their prejudice ; the moment I discover 
such intention, he loses my friendship : at the 
same time, I will consider it as a mark of theirs, if 
they will not urge the performance of my promise 
concerning him." The Council abstained frpm 
urging the performance of the promise. Circum- 
stances arose which cast a doubt upon the sin- 
cerity of the Vizier's declaration, but the result 
proved that it was made in good faith. The Vizier 
subsequently declared to the Company's officer 
commanding their troops, that should hostilities 
commence between the French and English, he 
should feel it unbecoming in him to entertain any 
man who was the enemy of our nation. He de- 
sired that this resolution might not be communi- 
cated to the Council, as he was determined to 
take such a course without any requisition on their 
part, in order that he might have the merit of it. 

These occurrences led the King to postpone his 
movement towards Delhi. The Company's troops 
were withdrawn, by the month of September, from 
Allahabad. The Council stated : " Nothing but 
the obligations to support our national faith, or to 
provide for the actual supply of these provinces, 
shall induce us to march your troops beyond the 



Brigadier General Smith resigned in November, i?69. 
being succeeded in the command of the forces Bengal. 
by Brigadier General Sir Robert Barker. In De- Mr - Cartier 

J ° succeeds to 

cember, Mr. Verelst relinquished the President's Mr - vereist. 
chair to Mr. Cartier. 

The Vizier, notwithstanding his former hatred SI ! u i a Do " Ia 

° reinstated in 

of Munerah-ud-Dowla, now earnestly entreated the Mogul's 

* t t confidence. 

the King to reinstate him in his councils. His 
motives for so doing were not very apparent. It 
was surmised that, by removing all suspicion, he 
thought that he should the better secure his own 
supremacy : if such was the fact his dissimula- 
tion attained his object. The King was inexorable 
in his determination not to recall the Nabob ; 
upon which Shuja Dowla repaired to the presence, 
embraced the lucky moment, and was invested 
with every honour and authority, both nominal 
and real. This unexpected reconciliation be- 
tween the King and the Vizier, received addi- 
tional strength from the marriage which was 
shortly to be celebrated between one of the royal 
princes and his Excellency's daughter. Munerah- 
ud-Dowla had invariably opposed the expedition 
to Delhi. The King, by the confidence which he 
now reposed in Shuja Dowla, placed himself 
entirely in his hands. 

At this period, Cossim Ally Khan* emerged from cossim Ally 
the obscurity in which he had so long remained, 


• Vide page 92. 


1769. and became once more an actor on the political 
Bengal. s tage of Hindostan. It was stated, that the Ranee 

of Gohud had invited him to reside at Gwalior, 
as a place better fitted for his schemes than the 
country of the Rohillas. A Mahratta army was 
hovering between the country of the Rajpoots and 
Jauts, and a large body of Seiks was in the neigh- 
bourhood of Paniput; Nujib-ud-Dowla was in 
the field, and the divisions amongst the Jauts 
grew more inveterate. This state of things neces- 
sarily obliged the Council to keep a watchful eye 
on the course of events. Although the move- 
ments of Cossim terminated without any impor- 
tant result, it appeared that the King, who was the 
mere puppet of the Vizier, had been in correspon- 
dence with him, and that his Majesty's regard 
towards the Company had evidently diminished. 

The Nabob of Bengal, Syoof-ud-Dowla, died in 
March, of the small- pox, which raged with great 
violence at Moorshedabad. He was succeeded 
by his younger brother, Maborek-ud-Dowla, about 
ten years of age. Rajah Bulwunt Sing died 
at Benares on the 23d August, and was succeeded 
by his son Cheyt Sing. 

1770. The Mahrattas were at this time the cause of 
hostlifdemon- serious apprehension to the Council. From their 
stration. forces having continued so long a period on the 

borders of the country of the Rajpoots, it was 
supposed that they were satiated with plunder, 
and would have retreated, as usual, on the com- 


mencement of the hot weather, and repass the Ner- 1770. 
budda. Instead of such a course, they pursued Bengal. 
their conquests. The whole of the territories of 
the Jauts to the south of the Jumna, and between 
that river and the Ganges, submitted to their arms, 
excepting the forts of Deeg and Agra, which, it 
was stated, they never could hope to possess, but 
by voluntary submission or treachery : a circum- 
stance that would, at all events, present a check 
to their progress. The treasure deposited in these 
forts was supposed to amount to many crores, and 
all that was wanted to apply it with effect was a 
more able and more resolute leader of the Jauts 
than Null Sing. Amidst the whole of the move- 
ments, the Mahrattas did not manifest any hos- 
tile designs against the Company's provinces : but 
a project was formed for the purpose of raising up 
a new king, in opposition to Shah Alum, who was 
considered a prisoner in the hands of the Com- 
pany : but to this project even two of the Mahratta 
generals refused their concurrence. The King 
evinced apprehensions of the Mahrattas, whilst 
the conduct of the Vizier was not free from sus- 
picion ; as at the moment that the Mahrattas 
were threatening his frontier, and when he ought 
to have been prepared to oppose their progress, he 
was amusing himself in hunting in a distant part 
of his dominions. 

The conduct of the French, notwithstanding the 
anxious desire evinced by the Council to avoid 




[Chap. IV. 



Calcutta mili- 

Mission to 

disputes, continued to give rise to frequent alter- 
cations ; the former magnifying matters of little 
moment into affairs of consequence, for the foun- 
dation of disputes between the two courts in 
Europe. As a preparation against any attempts, 
a militia was formed at Calcutta, composed of the 
Company's civil servants and the European inhabi- 
tants. A naval force was likewise sent from Eng- 
land, to protect the British interests, the whole ex- 
pense of such aid being borne by the Company. 

The Directors having expressed a desire to learn, 
whether a trade could be opened with Nepaul ; 
and, if cloth and other commodities might not 
find their way to Thibet, Lhassa, and the western 
parts of China : the Council deputed Mr. Logan, 
of the medical service (who had, on a former oc- 
casion, accompanied Captain Kinloch,* and was 
perfect master of the language), to prosecute the 
inquiry, and furnished him with the necessary 
credentials to assist him in what they termed a 
" hazardous enterprize." 

The affairs of Bengal having been brought down 
from Lord Clive's appointment in 1765, to the 
period when the Special commission of supervi- 
sion was determined upon by the Company, the 
proceedings of the two Presidencies of Madras and 
Bombay will be given for the same term, and will 
comprise the measures in which his Lordship and 
his successors took part regarding those two set- 

* Vide page 181. 



The Councils, of Calcutta and Madras, had im- 
pressed upon the attention of the Home authori- Madras - 
ties, the importance of establishing a permanent 
influence in the Northern Circars. The resump- Northern 
tion by the French of their possessions in India, 
under the treaty of peace, led the President of 
Fort St. George to suggest to Lord Clive the ex- 
pediency of obtaining from the Mogul sunnuds 
for the circars of Rajahmundry, Ellore, Musta- 
phanagur, Chicacole, and Condavir or Guntoor. 

The circars formed an appendage to the Soubah 
of the Deccan. Salabat Jung, in 1752, gave Con- 
davir, on the south side of the Kistna, to the 
French East-India Company, as a perpetual jag- 
hire ; and soon after ceded to them the other town 
north of that river, for the maintenance of the 
troops in the immediate service of M. Bussy. 
When Colonel Forde took Masulipatam, and put 
an end to the authority of the French in the Dec- 
can, all the five circars were restored to the Sou- 
bah, who consented, at the same time, that the 
family of Vizeramrauze should continue in the 



1765. management of the Chicacole circar, as a reward 
Madras. f or fidelity and attachment to the Company. 

The Circar of Condavir, or Guntoor, was also 
conferred as a jaghire on Bazalet Jung, third 
brother of Salabat Jung, from which he still 
received an annual tribute. The other circars 
had been put under the management of dif- 
ferent persons. In 1762, they were offered as a 
jaghire to the Company, on the same terms as 
they had been formerly held by the French ; but 
as those terms involved the sending assistance 
into the Deccan, it was considered too onerous an 
obligation, and the offer was declined. Hussain 
Ally acted as the ambassador from the Nizam. 
From the failure of his mission, he fell into dis- 
grace : but, through the aid of the Nabob of the 
Carnatic, and the advance of a considerable sum 
of money, he effected terms, and procured for him- 
self the management of those countries, and at 
the request of the Nizam was joined* by a de- 
tachment of the Company's troops, in expecta- 
tion of re-establishing a proper government. The 
zemindar never accounted with any of his mana- 
gers unless compelled by force, and the country 
had been generally plundered by the strongest of 
the contending parties. Hussain Ally, supported 
by the Company, though with a very small force, 
got possession of the circars of Rajahmundry, 


* Vide page 107. 


Ellore, and Mustaphanagur : having engaged to 170.5. 
put the Company in possession of them, whenever Madras. 
required, a reasonable maintenance being secured 
to him should that event take place. 

On the 14th October, the Council at Madras Sunnuds for 
advised the Directors, that Lord Clive had, at tained from the 
the instance of Mr. Palk, the President at Fort ° 8U 
St. George, obtained sunnuds from the Mogul 
for the five Northern Circars, and a confirmation 
of the jaghire granted by the Nabob to the Com- 
pany. It was judged prudent to defer taking im- 
mediate possession of them, as the Council were 
not aware how far they might be required to send 
aid in troops to Bengal. The revenues of the 
Circars, for the next year, had been anticipated 
by Hussain Ally, to enable him to make good his 
payments to the Soubah, and support his troops; 
but the possession of the sunnuds was important, 
the French being thereby prevented from getting 
a footing in them. 

The Nizam having marched to Berar, General 
Caillaud was appointed to command the troops : 
he proceeded in January, and took possession of 
the Bessoara Pass. The sunnuds, or grants, were 
published at Masulipatam the 3d of March, and 
received there with general satisfaction. The fort 
of Condapilly, which in a great measure secured 
the pass into the Circars, was carried by assault, 
on the 7th March. The Council determined to 
take the countries immediately into their own 

vol. 1. p hands, 



[Chap. V. 


hands, to receive from the zemindars the out- 
standing balances, and to use every means for 
discharging Hussain Ally's troops. 

In April, the Directors were advised of the 
measures adopted for establishing the Company's 
authority in the Circars, and of the difficulty 
of prevailing on the Nabob of the Carnatic to 
remain on terms with Hyder, who had made 
such extensive conquests on the Malabar coast. 
"As an instance of the Mysorean's sincerity," 
the Council stated, " Hyder has consented to 
surrender to the Nabob the fort of Milpaddy, 
which guards a pass to the westward of Tinne- 
velly, and was given into the Mysore hands by 
Moorteis Ally, about the time of the surrender 

The proceedings of the Madras government 
created considerable alarm in the mind of the 
Nizam, who looked upon the Nabob as the cause. 
To remove this impression, the Council suggested 
that the Nabob should despatch a proper person, to 
satisfy the Nizam that he had not the least concern 
in the transaction. The party deputed was in- 
Ni^Im^nTthe structed to assure him, that the Council desired 
Nabob. tQ rema j n on the most friendly terms, that their 

views extended no further than the possession of 
the Circars, and in order to settle the treaty more 
readily, they contemplated negotiating it through 
the Nabob. Before the party had set out, the 
Nabob received a letter from the Nizam, and one 


between the 


also from his Dewan, upbraiding him for not hav- itgg. 
ing endeavoured to prevent the Council taking Mad*a« 
possession of the Circars, and recommending him 
to prevail on them to withdraw their troops. 

It appeared that the Soubah* was in great want 
of funds, and that his principal dependence was on 
Hyder Ally, to whom he had made overtures for 
assistance. The Council felt that he could not 
give them much trouble as Hyder's vakeel was at 
the same moment soliciting the alliance of the 
Company. Under these circumstances, they 
judged it best that the Nabob's messenger should 
proceed, as originally intended, to the Nizam. 
The latter was deaf to every proposition which 
wore the least appearance of coming through or 
from the Nabob. The Council, alive to the im- 
portance of securing the Nizam, not only with 
reference to the growing power of Hyder and his 
great wealth, but also the Mahrattas and the pre- 
servation of a communication with Bengal, re- 
solved to instruct General Caillaud and Mr. Smith 
to proceed to Hyderabad, to put the Nizam in 
complete possession of their motives and inten- 
tions regarding the Circars, and their proposition 
for a treaty with him. At this period, the Council 
received a communication from the Select Com- 
mittee in Bengal, and the President another from 


* The Soubah and Nizam is the same party, although the two 
designations may be used indiscriminately. 

P 2 



[Chap. V. 



Council in 
Bengal pro- 
pose an alli- 
ance with the 

Treaty with 
the Nizam. 

Lord Clive, containing a plan for an alliance with 
the Nizam, and offering to join the Madras force 
with one entire brigade, in assisting him to settle 
>his government, and to carry into effect a plan 
which Lord Clive had contemplated on his arrival 
in India, of regaining possession of Cuttack, situ- 
ated between Ganjam and Balasore, in order to 
make the junction of the two presidencies com- 

The proposition appeared well calculated to 
preserve the Company's possessions and the whole 
country in peace, and at the same time to form a 
barrier against the invasions of the Mahrattas, 
both as regarded Bengal and the Carnatic. The 
aid which Lord Clive suggested should be prof- 
fered to the Nizam, as an inducement for his fall- 
ing into the views of the Council, consisted of 
two hundred infantry, one hundred artillery, and 
three battalions of sepoys. The Council apprized 
the Bombay Presidency of the measures in con- 
templation, and remarked, i( it is in your power 
to oblige both the Mahrattas and Mysoreans to 
attend to their own concerns." 

The treaty, which consisted of fourteen articles, 
was signed at Hyderabad on the 12th November. 
It was termed one of alliance and friendship be- 
tween the Company and the Nizam. The Com- 
pany, in consideration of the grant of the Circars, 
engaged to have a body of troops ready to settle 
the affairs of his Highness's government in every 



thing that was right and proper, but with liberty 176G. 
to withdraw them, should the state of affairs, or Madras. 
those of the Carnatic, render it necessary. When- 
ever the troops were not supplied by the Com-* 
pany, or required by the Nizam, the latter was to 
receive from the Company nine lacs per annum. 
The Chicacole circar was to be reduced as soon as 
possible : that of Mustaphanagur having been 
given by the Nizam to his brother, Bazalet Jung, 
as a jaghire, the Company were not to take pos- 
session of it until his death ; but should he occa- 
sion disturbance in the circar, then the Company 
were to have it in their power to assume it. The 
diamond mines were to remain in the possession 
of the Nizam. The fort of Condapilly was to be 
garrisoned by the Company's troops, a killedar 
being maintained therein on the part of the Nizam. 

The most material clause of the treaty was that 
which provided for an indefinite support in troops 
to the Nizam. Upon this point the Council stated 
that, in the course of the negociation, General Cail- 
laud had discovered that the Soubah was abso- 
lutely determined, in the event of his concluding 
a treaty, to proceed against Hyder, for which 
purpose he had engaged the service of the Mahrat- 
tas, and stipulated that the Council should co- 
operate with him in the undertaking. 

The view of the Directors on this transaction was observations 
communicated to Bengal the 25th March, 17G8. Directors on 

" We have taken the negociations and treaty 



1766. with the Soubah of the Deccan into our most se- 
Madras. r i ous consideration, and are much alarmed at the 
state of your affairs by your last advices. The 
examination into your proceedings has led to a 
review of all that has passed on the business of 
the Circars, from your first entertaining the idea 
of obtaining possession of them. 

" The exclusion of the French from the Circars 
has been our principal view in obtaining them , 
but we have ever shewn a repugnance to the hold- 
ing them on the terms of assisting the Soubah with 
our troops, and such, too, have been your constant 
sentiments, until 1766. 

" In your letter of the 2d of October, 1761, 
paragraph 18, your system was, to suffer the con- 
tending parties in the Deccan to weaken them- 
selves, and not to grasp at more than you could hold. 

" In the following year, the Soubah, distressed 
by his war with the Mahrattas, consents to your 
holding the Circars, on your agreeing to pay him 
half the revenues of them ; but he revokes the 
grant the moment his danger from the Mahrattas 
ceases. In 1764, he is disposed to grant them, on 
condition of your keeping up a body of troops in 
the manner the French did ; but when you found 
it would require so great a force as seven hundred 
infantry, a company of artillery, and three thou- 
sand sepoys, besides a proper force in the Circars, 
you reject the terms, as inadequate to the expense 
and danger that may be incurred by them. 

" The 


" The growing greatness of Hyder Ally was 1766. 
but a weak pretence for a junction with the Sou- madras 
bah. We do not conceive you really thought his 
army, or any country troops in Hindostan, could 
endanger the Carnatic in a defensive war ; but 
had you entertained such an apprehension, the 
whole of our experience in the country wars shows 
how much danger, difficulty, and expense, and 
how little assistance, is to be derived from any 
country alliance in a general action, more espe- 
cially with the Soubah's army, the most undisci- 
plined rabble of all. 

" Upon the same principle, we disapprove Lord 
Clive's ideas of a general alliance against the 
Mahratta powers, and look for safety and success 
in our own force only, and their divisions. 

" We perceive Lord Clive's opinion has had 
great weight ; but had that been your guide, you 
would never have concluded the treaty on the 
terms you have ; for in his Lordship's letter to 
Mr. Palk, of the 11th August, he says, he thinks 
two hundred infantry, a company of artillery, and 
three battalions of sepoys, sufficient to answer the 
purpose of supporting the Soubah. 

u In your conduct in the negociations with the 
Soubah, there is a yielding temper throughout the 
whole negociation, which implies a want of firm- 
ness in your negociator. 

" The general alliance with the Soubah and 
Mahrattas produced the effect we always shall 



1766. expect from alliances among powers uncontrolled 
Madras. ^y tne ] aw Q f na ti ns, or any principle to establish 
good faith among them. 

V The Mahrattas, instead of being reduced, are 
like to be aggrandized, by their conquest of the 
Mysore dominions, which brings them so much 
nearer to the Carnatic. The Soubah's weakness 
and indigence seem beyond all relief; and Hyder 
Ally, if less formidable to the Soubah and the 
Mahrattas, is more likely to be an enemy to us, 
and to embrace every opportunity of disturbing 
the Carnatic. 

" Should the Circars continue in our posses- 
sion, it must be observed as a general rule, that 
no European is to interfere in the collection of 
the revenues, further than to receive the rents 
from Hussain Ally, or the rajahs who held the 
districts, and are to account to the chiefs of Masu- 
lipatam or Vizagapatam, as you shall direct : 
neither are they to interfere in the managment or 
the government of the country, farther than to 
check the renter if guilty of any grievous oppres- 

8 * Before we leave the subject, we must observe 
to you, that we think it very extraordinary the 
whole negociation with the Soubah should have 
been conducted by a military officer, unaccom- 
panied by a civil servant. When Mr. Pybus's 
illness was known, another should have been imme- 
diately appointed, for it is highly displeasing to 



us, and contrary to our orders, that a military offi- ,765 - 
cer should be alone employed in negociations of lAPilAS - 
our commercial or political interest." 

It has already been seen that the conduct of 
Hyder, on the Malabar coast, led the Council at 
Bombay to apprehend a rupture between him and 
the Company. 

At Madras, nothing more was heard of him %2 d,BBi 

' ° of Hyder. 

until the month of July, when he informed the 
Council that he had sent for his vakeel. This cir- 
cumstance created suspicion, it being at the same 
time confidently reported, that he had solicited and 
and received from the Nizam a sunnud for the 
Carnatic. This was in a degree confirmed by his 
having suddenly quitted his conquests on the 
Malabar coast, and proceeded to Seringapatam, 
where, it was stated, he had placed a child upon 
the throne, and then posted his army at Coimba- 
tore, near the confines of Caroor.* Notwithstand- 
ing these movements, the Council were assured 
by a vakeel from Hyder, that he desired nothing 
more than to live in perfect friendship with the 
Company, and for this purpose he requested an 
English gentleman might be sent to him to settle 
terms. Mr. Bourchier, a member of the Council, 
was deputed for the purpose, and set out with the 
vakeel. When he reached Arcot, he was desired 


* This is explained by the report which had reached the Bom- 
bay Council, of his having adopted the son of Chunda Saib. 


1766. to wait for answers from Hyder regarding the place 
Madras. f their interview. He was afterwards informed 
that Hyder had ordered the vakeel to go to him 
alone. Mr. Bourchier returned to Madras, and 
reported to the Council that the vakeel, on quit- 
ting him, had stated that he had received a letter 
from his master disapproving of an English gen- 
tleman coming to him. 
council deter- The Council considered the whole conduct of 

iijinCo on iiUoLi"' 

H ie der Vith Hyder to be very questionable. When they re- 
flected upon his immense conquests, his great 
riches, and the power which he had established, 
added to his pride and ambition, they felt that no 
opportunity should be lost to reduce that power 
within its ancient and proper bounds, and to 
check the intentions of a man, who, by his vio- 
lence and oppression, had rendered himself ob- 
noxious to all the country governments, and dan- 
gerous to the peace and tranquillity of the Car- 
natic. They therefore, viewed the resolution 
taken by the Nizam to be a very important cir- 
cumstance,* and resolved to assist him with such 
a force as would insure success, and at the same 
time satisfy the Nizam of the sincerity of their 
intentions. Information of the bearing of the 
Nizam towards Hyder was despatched to Bom- 
bay, that the President and the Council there 
might take the necessary measures for securing 


* Fide page 213. 


the Company's possessions on that side, and be itgg. 
prepared to make use of their forces in the event MADaAs - 
of a rupture, in which case they concluded that 
many of the powers of the Malabar coast would 
be ready to embrace the opportunity of recovering 
their ancient possessions. 

Having reason to believe that the treaty with circars. 
the Nizam had been concluded, the Council, in 
November, required Sitteramrauze, who had been 
backward with his kists, to state whether he would 
submit to the Company's government by keeping 
up his agreement. The situation of Vizagapatam, 
in the midst of the Chicacole circar, being well 
calculated to preserve the country in obedience, 
the Council contemplated placing it in a state of 
security against any country enemy. They ori- 
ginally intended to have taken the other circars 
into their own management, but, under the advice 
of General Caillaud, they judged it better to con- 
clude an agreement with Hussain Ally, to rent 
them for a term of years. The Pittapore Rajah, 
one of the zemindars of the Rajahmundry district, 
" being unwilling to submit to the reasonable de- 
mands of Hussain Ally," the Council determined 
to send a force beyond that stipulated to be paid 
for, in order to reduce the zemindar to obedience. 

They advised the Court of Directors of the whole i?67. 
of the foregoing measures, in their despatch of the 
22d January. On the 20th of that month, Colonel 
Smith had an audience of the Nizam, in camp near 





conduct of the 

Soubah dis- 
posed to join 

Hyderabad, when he proposed moving to the 
banks of the Kistna, where he expected the Com- 
pany's troops. The whole joined the Nizam on 
the 19th. In the month of March, the Council, 
believing that Hyder had been using means to in- 
duce the Soubah " to make up matters," and that 
the latter had been in communication with the 
Mahrattas, attempted, but without success, to dis- 
cover whether such was the fact. In order to 
strengthen the hands of Colonel Smith, Mr. Bour- 
chier was sent to join in the endeavour to bring 
the Nizam to a determination. They were at the 
same time obliged to march a force into the Madura 
and Tinnevelly districts, to subdue some refractory 
Polygars, who not only defied the Nabob's mana- 
gers, but had defeated a small body of military 
sent against them. After much negociation, the 
Nabob consented to discharge the whole of the 
■*. useless rabble," of which his troops consisted, 
and to depend entirely upon the Company's forces 
for the defence and security of his possessions. 

The Nizam continued not only to act with in- 
decision, but even treated the Company's com- 
manders and troops with disregard. In the interim, 
the Mahrattas settled their affairs with Hyder, and 
it soon became apparent that a negociation was in 
progress between Hyder and the Nizam, the latter 
wavering only as to the amount which he was to 
receive for breaking with the Company. 

These events present a true picture of eastern 


Chap. V.] 



intrigue and deception. A few weeks had scarcely 1767. 
elapsed since the Soubah had been resolute in Madras. 
adopting measures to reduce Hyders power, and 
now he is found forming an alliance with that am- 
bitious chief, and abusing his connexion with the 

The greater portion of the Company's force was 
accordingly withdrawn, with the consent of the 
Nizam, who engaged to remit the two lacs on ac- 
count of the Chicacole circar, and likewise to 
give to the Company and their troops one-fifth of 
the money collected from Hyder. The negoci- 
ation with Hyder was continued from May to 
the close of June, when the Nizam's Dewan gave 
a sunnud to the Company for the remission on 
account of the Chicacole circar, and bills for a 
fifth of what Hyder was to pay. These proceed- Enters the 
ings were but just concluded, when reports reached tiieiy. 
the Council, that the Nizam with hostile intentions 
was entering the Carnatic. In July, all doubts 
were removed upon this point. His army, instead 
of marching northward, advanced towards Banga- 
lore, and from thence to Oapatavady. At the close 
of the month, Hyder crossed the river near Serin- 
gapatam and proceeded to Bangalore, where, on 
the 16th August, his main body was joined by the 

The Council caused all their troops to be forth- Measures 
with collected and placed under Colonel Smith. against Hyder * 
Aid was requested from Bengal to secure the Cir- 



1767 - cars, and the Council at Bombay were called upon 
madras. tQ uge ^gjj. ^est exertions in assisting the designs 
against Hyder, whose power it was felt, sooner or 
later, must be reduced, as the only means of 
giving peace to the Carnatic and securing the 
Company's possessions. The Council observed : 
"It is not only his troublesome disposition and 
ambitious views now that we have to apprehend, 
but that he may at a favourable opportunity, or in 
some future war, take the French by the hand, to 
re-establish their affairs, — which cannot fail to be 
of the worst consequence to your possessions on 
the coast. He has money to pay them, and they 
can spare and assemble troops at the islands, and 
it is reported that he has already made proposals 
by despatches to the French king or Company in 
The soubah On the 26th September, the joint forces of the 

and Hyder de- 
bated. Soubah and Hyder were defeated by Colonel 

Smith, who pursued them till within eight miles 

of the road from Trinomallee to Changama. Sixty 

pieces of cannon were taken. The want of cavalry 

prevented his more effectually following up the 

victory. During the operations, a body of Hyder's 

iiyder's horse horse found means to advance to Choultry Plain. 

dras. They plundered St. Thom6 and the whole of the 

adjacent villages, carrying off several of the inha- 
bitants, without the Council being able to afford 


* Letter to Court, 21st September, 1767. 


them succour. The Council represented : " The 1767. 
continual reinforcements we had sent to camp MAnRAS - 
had reduced our garrison so low, we were obliged 
to confine our attention entirely to the preserva- 
tion of the Fort and the Black Town, for which 
purpose it was necessary to arm all the Com- 
pany's civil servants, the European inhabitants, 
Armenians, and Portuguese/' The detachments 
of the enemy consisted of three or four thousand 
cavalry, and continued in the bounds until the 
29th September, when they moved off. The 
Council added: "As it is uncertain when the 
troubles we are engaged in will end, and as we 
must in the course of the war expect to have 
many Europeans sick, we must earnestly request 
you to send out as large reinforcements as possi- 
ble." This despatch reached the Court by the 
Hector on the 22d April, 1768. It was acknow- 
ledged in the following terms : — 

"The alarming state of our affairs under your court's views 
conduct, regarding the military operations against t^nsagainst 
the Soubah of the Deccan, joined with Hyder 
Ally, and the measures in agitation with the Mah- 
rattas in consequence thereof, requiring our most 
immediate consideration, we have therefore deter- 
mined on this overland conveyance by the way of 
Bussorah, as the most expeditious way of giving 
our sentiments to you on those important sub- 

" In our separate letter of the 25th March, we 



1767. gave you our sentiments very fully on your treaty 
madras. with the Soubah of the Deccan. 

" After having for successive years given it as 
your opinion, confirmed by our approbation, that 
maintaining an army for the support of the Soubah 
of the Deccan was endangering the Carnatic, and 
would tend to involve us in wars, and distant and 
expensive operations, and the grant of the Circars 
was not to be accepted on such terms, you at once 
engage in that support, and send an army superior 
to that which, in the year 1764, you declared 
would endanger your own safety. 

"The quick succession of important events in 
Indian wars puts it out of our power to direct your 
measures. We can only give you the outlines of 
that system which we judge most conducive to give 
permanency and tranquillity to our possessions. 

" We should have hoped that the experience of 
what has passed in Bengal would have suggested 
the proper conduct to you : we mean, when our 
servants, after the battle of Buxar, projected the 
extirpation of Shuja Dowla from his dominions, 
and the giving them up to the King. Lord Clive 
soon discerned, the King would have been unable 
to maintain them, and that it would have broken 
down the strongest barriers against the Mahrattas 
and the northern powers, and therefore wisely re- 
stored Shuja Dowla to his dominions.* Such, too, 
should be your conduct with respect to the Nizam 


* Fide page 143. 


and Hyder Ally, neither of whom it is our interest 1767. 
should be totally crushed. Madras. 

"The Dewanny of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, Extentofthe 

. i i t • i • Court's views 

with the possessions we hold in those provinces, as to territorial 
are the utmost limits of our views on that side of pos 
India. On the coast, the protection of the Carnatic 
and the possession of the Ci rears, free from all 
engagements to support the Soubah of the Deccan, 
or even without the Circars, preserving only influ- 
ence enough over any country power who may 
hold them, to keep the French from settling in 
them ; and, on the Bombay side, the dependen- 
cies thereon, the possessions of Salsette, Bassein, 
and the castle of Surat. The protection of these 
is easily within the reach of our power, and may 
mutually support each other, without any country 
alliance whatever. If we pass these bounds, we 
shall be led on from one acquisition to another, till 
we shall find no security but in the subjection of 
the whole, which, by dividing your force, would 
lose us the whole, and end in our extirpation from 

" Much has been wrote from you and from our 
servants at Bengal, on the necessity of checking 
the Mahrattas, which may in some degree be pro- 
per ; but it is not for the Company to take the part 
of umpires of Hindostan. If it had not been for 
the imprudent measures you have taken, the coun- 
try powers would have formed a balance of power 
among themselves, and their divisions would have 

vol. i. q left 


1767. } e ft. y 0U j n p eace • but if at any time the thirst for 
plunder should urge the Mahrattas to invade our 
possessions, they can be checked only by carrying 
the war into their own country. It is with this 
view that we last year sent out field-officers to our 
presidency at Bombay, and put their military force 
on a respectable footing ; and when once the Mah- 
rattas understand that to be our plan, we have 
reason to think they will not wantonly attack us. 
offensive wars " You will observe by the whole tenour of these 

and further sic- 

quisition to be despatches, that our views are not to enter into 
offensive wars in India, or to make further acquisi- 
tions beyond our present possessions. We do not 
wish to enter into any engagements which may be 
productive of enormous expenses, and which are 
seldom calculated to promote the Company's es- 
sential interests. On the contrary, we wish to see 
the present Indian powers remain as a check 
one upon another, without our interfering ; there- 
fore, we recommend to you, so soon as possible, to 
bring about a peace upon terms of the most perfect 
moderation on the part of the Company, and when 
made, to adhere to it upon all future occasions, 
except when the Company's possessions are ac- 
tually attacked ; and not to be provoked by fresh 
disturbances of the country powers to enter into 
new wars."* 

The troops were ordered into cantonments dur- 

* Court's Letter, dated the 13th May, 176a 


ing the rainy season ; preparations being made for nc7. 
resuming the field as soon as the weather would Madras. 
permit. The enemy took advantage of this step, 
and invested Veniambaddy, of which they got pos- 
session on the 8th November, and then laid siege 
to Amboor. The Council ordered the troops to Operation* 

_ . t i t T ,, , against Hyder. 

assemble immediately at Yellore, to preserve the 
important fortress of Amboor, and to prevent the 
enemy from again penetrating into the Carnatic. 
Colonel Smith obliged them to withdraw from 
Amboor in December, and shortly after defeated 
them ; Hyder proceeding to Covrapatam, where he 
fortified his camp. Colonel Smith followed, but 
abstained, in consequence of Hyder's strong posi- 
tion and the want of provisions, from again attack- 
ing him. Hyder, in order to cut off an expected 
convoy, put himself at the head of a select body 
of troops, and on the 20th December marched to 
Singarapettah, in the hope of intercepting it. Colo- 
nel Smith immediately detached Major Fitzgerald 
with some black cavalry and two companies of 
grenadiers. He fell in with and defeated Hyder, 
who retired to Tingra Cottah, and ultimately to 
Bangalore, leaving garrisons in all the forts in the 
valley. Tingra Cottah surrendered on the 12th 
February to Colonel Wood, who advanced against 
Daraporam, into which place Hyder had thrown 
six hundred of his best sepoys. The garrison 
stood a storm, in which they suffered greatly. 
Covrapatam surrendered to Colonel Smith on the 

q 2 23d 






Nizam desires 
terms of ac- 

Treaty with 

23d February. The troops under Colonel Wood 
proceeded to reduce Salem and Ashtour, the pos- 
session of which it was felt would greatly tend to 
the security of the Carnatic to the southward. 
Various other operations followed, which opened 
the road to Hyderabad. This circumstance, 
together with the success of the troops in other 
parts, induced the Nizam to desire terms of accom- 
modation ; and that the Council would send a 
person to him for the purpose. This was declined, 
on the ground that he was the aggressor ; and it 
was insisted, as a preliminary, that he should 
withdraw entirely fromHyder, and send his De wan 
with proposals to Madras. After some hesitation, 
he sent Ruecum-ud-Dowla to the Presidency on 
the 9th February. The negociation terminated in 
a treaty of peace between the Company, the Nizam, 
and the Nabob, on the 1st March. The Circars 
were ceded to the Company, the Nizam acknow- 
ledging the validity of the phirmaund from the 
Mogul. The Company agreed to pay him an- 
nually the sum stipulated by the former treaty, 
excepting the two lacs on account of the Chicacole 
circar, which the Nizam gave up. The sum to be 
paid him yearly was five lacs of rupees, out of 
which he agreed that the expenses of the war, 
about twenty-five lacs, should be deducted, at the 
rate of three lacs per annum. Care was taken so 
to word the treaty, that the payment of this sum 
should not appear to be by virtue of the Company's 


Chap. V.] 



holding the Circars from the Nizam, but only in 1768. 
consideration of the friendship existing between Madras. 
them. The Guntoor circar was left in the hands 
of Bazalet Jung, as in the treaty of Hyderabad. 
Entire possession of the fort of Condapilly, with 
the jaghire dependent on it, was given up to the 
Company. Hyder was publicly denounced by the 
Nizam as a rebel and an usurper, with whom 
no correspondence was to be maintained. The 
Nizam promised to assign and make over to the 
Company all his right and title to the dewanny of 
the Mysore country. The Nabob of the Carnatic 
was included in the treaty, " as well with the view 
of preventing the Soubah from molesting the Car- 
natic, as to hinder the Nabob from having any 
hopes towards the Deccan/'* 

Operations were carried on against Hyder. On operations rar- 

ried on against 

the 20th March, Salem surrendered to Colonel Hyder. 

Intelligence having reached Madras of the ex- Proceedings 
t» » at Koml)a y 

pedition fitted out at Bombay j to attack Hyder s against Hyder. 

settlements on the coast, Colonel Wood was 

ordered to proceed towards Sattiamungulum, to 

gain possession of a fort which had been lately 

built by Hyder, and secure an entrance into the 

Coimbatore country, and at the same time open a 

communication with the Malabar coast, to afford 


* Letter to Court, 1st March, 1768. 
f Vide page '264. 


1768. aid to the expedition from Bombay, against which 
Madras. t j ]e Q ounc ii apprehended Hyder would direct his 

The fort of Kistnagherry, which had been 
invested by Colonel Smith in the month of Fe- 
bruary, did not capitulate till the 2d May, the 
enemy having a few days previously made a vigo- 
rous but unsuccessful effort, with a body of two 
thousand horse, one thousand sepoys, and six 
hundred peons, to throw in provisions. 

Hyder had shewn himself a very formidable 
enemy, and convinced the Council of Madras that, 
from his increase of power, he would prove a dan- 
gerous neighbour. They had reason to believe 
that he was in treaty with the French, who had 
been collecting a force at the islands, of thirty 
companies of one hundred men each, amongst 
Hyder evinces which were many artificers of all kinds. He had 

a disposition to.. -i-i* i 1 • ii-ii • i 

pome to terms, intimated a desire that his vakeel might be received 
at Madras. The Council declined, unless the 
vakeel was furnished with the conditions proposed 
as the basis for a negociation. They felt that the 
country powers would be apprehensive of joining 
the Company's interests, if they were liable to be 
cast off, without a clear understanding as to the 
position in which they would be placed towards 
those against whom they might have acted. They 
also considered it essential to lessen the power 
of Hyder ; but had little reason to believe that he 
would sacrifice either power or ambition to allay 



any apprehensions. They observed, that they nes. 
had a barrier to obtain to the Carnatic, their ex- Madras. 
penses to recover, and an extension of privileges 
and possessions to acquire for Bombay. With 
these views, they determined to pursue vigorous 
measures, in order to obtain a footing in Mysore 
before the rainy season obliged them to suspend 

To promote these ends, two members of the Field-deputies 
Board were nominated, in the character of field- app01 
deputies, to proceed to camp, who, with Colonel 
Smith, were to act as a Committee, and to deter- 
mine such measures with the Nabob as might be 
essential, without awaiting the decision of the 
Council at Madras, if the delay was likely to be 
detrimental to the public service. They were 
also to assist the Nabob in settling the country 
that might be acquired, to superintend all the 
measures, and to keep the charges within all pos- 
sible bounds. The state of their finances was at 
this time most embarrassing. As very limited aid 
could be expected from Bengal, part of the 
money intended for the China investment was 

In the course of the operations, cavalry was Financial em- 
indispensable, to enable the troops to follow up 
the advantages, as well as to oppose with effect 
that arm of the enemy. The want of such force 


* Letter to Court, 11th May 1768. 


1768. was severely felt. Vencatagherry surrendered to 
. .as. Colonel Campbell on the 16th June, and Muliava- 

Success against * 

Hyder. keel on the 28th ; from thence he proceeded to 

Ossour, where he was joined by the remainder of 
the army. That place surrendered on the 11th, 
and Amicalle on the 13th July. These forts 
formed a complete chain from Vellore to Banga- 
lore, and their possession secured an uninterrupted 
communication. These successful operations led 
the Council to resolve on an attempt against Ban- 
galore, which they deemed of the greater moment, 
from a report that the Nizam had a design of break- 
ing with the Company, and that a negociation was 
actually on foot between him and the Mahrattas. 
Hyder also had a vakeel with the Nizam, and 
Ruccum-ud-Dowla, who had the principal share 
in concluding the treaty between the Company 
and the Nizam, was in disgrace, and it was re- 
ported that the latter and Mhaderao proposed, as 
soon as the rains was over, to attack the Nabob's 
and the Company's possessions. 

The views entertained by the Court of Direc- 
tors, and the course of policy which it appeared 
to them the Council should have followed, were 
communicated to Madras, and a Select Com- 
mittee was nominated to carry into effect their 
instructions regarding the affairs under that pre- 

court of du << i n whatever light we view the 10th article of 

rectors con- ° 

denm the treaty your treaty with the Soubah, we see nothing but 

with the Sou- J < J ' 5 

Wh. weakness 


weakness, danger, and instability to our affairs. 1768 
The Nabob Mahomed Ally, though highly es- 
teemed by us for the sincerity of his attachment, 
and the long and faithful union of interest that 
has subsisted between him and the Company, is 
universally known to be a man of no resources in 
himself, and, consequently, the whole burthen of 
defending and supporting him in the Mysore 
country must fall upon us ; with this disadvantage, 
that by deviating from the original purpose of re- 
storing to every one his right, you lose all the 
natural interest of the country, there remaining 
no inducement for any one to join you : thus we 
should have a barrier to maintain at an immense 
distance from Fort St. George, and the Mahrattas 
for our neighbours. 

(< The situation you were in, when the Egmoni 
sailed, was precisely that in which a peace seemed 
attainable on eligible terms. You were then in 
possession of all the chain of hills and forts, to form 
a strong barrier for the Carnatic, and we make 
no doubt but that Hyder Ally's repeated defeats 
would have induced him to pay a large sum of 
money for the expense of the war ; and there it 
might have been closed with propriety. 

" Instead of pursuing pacific measures with 
Hyder Ally, as we think you ought to have 
done, knowing, as you did, our sentiments with 
respect to extending our territories, you have 
brought us into such a labyrinth of difficulties, 



1768. that we do not see how we shall be extricated 

Madras. f rQm t h em> 

" But if it should have happened, when these 
advices reach you, that Hyder Ally should be 
extirpated, and it should not be inconsistent with 
any engagements you may have entered into, our 
wish would be, to have restored to the ancient 
Rajahs, and powers to whom they belonged, the 
several districts and countries taken from Hyder 
Ally, after reserving to us the passes and forts 
which serve as a barrier between Mysore and the 
Carnatic. Such a step must demonstrate to all 
the Indian powers with whom we are connected, 
that we mean to distribute to every man his own, 
and by a just, mild, and prudent conduct towards 
them, to evince that conquests and plunder are 
not the objects of our pursuit; but that we mean 
to confine ourselves to the branches of our com- 
mercial interest, and the benefit of such revenues 
as have been granted to us by Mahomed Ally. 

" When we reflect on the vast length of coun- 
try, from the northern parts of Chicacole, to the 
southern districts of Madura and Tinnevelly ; the 
number of garrisons to be maintained, and the 
wild independence of most of the Rajahs and 
Poligars, from whom nothing can be collected but 
by a standing force, we regret our having ever 
passed the boundaries of the Carnatic, even for 
the possession of the Circars ; for we have great 
doubts whether the charges will not always exceed 

y the 


the collections, and apprehend many ill conse- 1769. 
quences from so great a division of our forces. Madkas - 
The preservation of the advantages we hold in 
the Bengal provinces, is the great object of our 

" Upon principles of policy, we wish for a 
peace with Hyder Naigue, whenever it can be 
obtained upon the most moderate terms ; for our 
policy is to avoid every thing that tends to the 
increase of the Mahratta power, which is evidently 
the misfortune of this war; for you are reduced to 
the necessity of being yourselves the proposers of 
new provinces to be added to the dominion of the 
Mahrattas, already possessed of half the Mogul 

" Whether the Mahrattas have accepted or not 
of your offer, certain it is, they will make the most 
use they can of the embroils of others. It is by 
this conduct they have arrived to their present 
degree of power ; and our best policy is to check 
their growth by every opportunity, or at least to 
avoid lending our own force to their aggrandize- 
ment, which we certainly do, as often as we 
engage in wars with the few remaining chiefs of 
India, who are yet capable of coping with them. 

" Nizam Ally and Hyder Naigue are two of 
those chiefs, and it is our true interest to preserve 
a good understanding with them. We do not 


* Letter to Madras, 17th March, 1769. 


1768. mean by this, that, after the long and expensive 
Madras. war w hi cn y 0U nave been most unfortunately 
engaged in, you should yield to Hyder Naigue, 
and accept of dishonourable terms ; but, whenever 
he shews a disposition to peace, we would have 
you meet him half-way ; and if a reasonable com- 
pensation can be obtained for our expenses, we 
desire no increase of territory, nor fresh grants 
and privileges of any kind. 

" We have possessions enough in Bengal and 
the Carnatic to yield all the advantages the 
Company expect. What we want is, attention 
in our servants to their improvement and good 
management, and a time of peace and leisure 
to establish plans of economy and frugality, 
both in our own affairs and those of the Nabob 
of Arcot, whose debts and embarrassments will 
have no end, till he confines his views to the 
Carnatic."* Subsequent events will prove how 
truly the Court's prognostications were ful- 

The difficulty of obtaining monthly supplies to 
carry on the war, induced the Council to recom- 
mend to the Committee to make a vigorous effort 
at once against Bangalore. This measure was 
defeated by intelligence from Bombay. The Coun- 
cil at that presidency had promptly answered the 
call made upon them from Madras, for the pur- 

• Letter to Madras, 30th June, 1769. 


pose of attacking Hyder's possessions.* Manga- 1768. 
lore was taken on the 1st March, and Onore sur- Madras. 


rendered on the 25th; but their operations against against Banga- 


the Ally Rajah were ineffectual, owing to their 
being disappointed in the promised aid from the 
" Malabars." Their attempt to induce the Mah- S*|^£ the 
rattas to take part against Hyder, also failed ; and 
an agent from Mhaderao laid claim to the Bednore 
and Soondah countries, and to such part of Mysore 
as might be taken. This was peremptorily refused 
by the President of Bombay ; but he was em- 
powered by the Council to stipulate, that if the 
islands of Salsette and Bassein,f with the several 
districts and revenues dependent upon each re- 
spectively ; also Caranjah and the Mahrattas' 
share of the revenue of Surat were relinquished 
to the Company, the Mahrattas should be se- 
cured in their usual chout from the various govern- 
ments and countries of the former rajahs on the 


* Vide page 222. 

f The Court of Directors, in a despatch to the Bombay 
Government in 1768, expressed their desire to obtain grants of 
both places : — 

"The intimation you gave to our President and Council of 
Fort St. George, to use their endeavours with the Mahrattas to 
obtain a grant of Salsette and Bassein to us, we highly approve 
of; and we now recommend to you, in the strongest manner, to 
use your endeavours, upon every occasion that may offer, to 
obtain these places, which we should esteem a valuable 
acquisition. We cannot directly point out the mode of doing 
it, but rather wish they could be obtained by purchase than 


1768 coast, who were to be reinstated in their posses- 

Madras. • l „ ^ 


The discussions terminated without any satis- 
factory result. The Council were advised that 
the enemy had appeared on the coast, and that 
Mangalore and Onore had been evacuated by the 
Company's forces with great precipitation, a party 
of the sick and some field-pieces falling into the 
hands of Hyder, who returned immediately to 

SSt ti0 Hyder. bangalore. The views of the Council of Madras, 
notwithstanding these reverses, were still directed 
to the reduction of that fortress. The troops under 
Colonels Smith and Wood were ordered to unite 
and encamp near Onscotah, until the necessary 
supplies were collected for carrying on the siege. 
Before the junction of Colonel Wood, and the 
arrival of the heavy guns and stores, Hyder formed 

Hyder retaiu a design of surprising the camp of Morarirow, 
about half-a-mile on the right of ours, on the 23d 
August. He attacked it at night, with six thou- 
sand horse and a battalion of sepoys. Morarirow, 
with great presence of mind, ordered his men not 
to mount, by which they had greatly the advan- 
tage of the enemy among the tents, and soon 
obliged them to retire with considerable loss. 
Colonel Wood, having joined Colonel Smith at 
Boodicotah, on the 6th September, endeavoured 
to bring Hyder, who was encamped eight miles 

* Letter, April, 1768. 



north of that place, to action : he retreated too 176a 

rapidly for their force to come up with him. Per- Madras - 

ceiving that he was followed by only one body 

of troops, he surprised and took Malavagal. 

Colonel Wood immediately went to its relief, and 

attempted to recover the fort on the hill by 

escalade, but without success. Hyder' s attempt 

to throw in a fresh body of troops, on the 28th 

September, brought on a general action, which 

lasted from eleven in the morning till sunset, when 

he retreated, leaving Colonel Wood master of the 

field. He retired to Chicamogloor, and, on his 

way, made an effort to take the fort of Murgo- 

mallee, which he abandoned on the approach 

of our troops. The Council, having ascertained fruitless nogo- 

l ° ciations with 

from Bombay that he had made overtures for a H y der - 
negociation through the president there, des- 
patched a communication to Mr. Hornby, the Pre- 
sident, suggesting that he should inform Hyder, 
that the Council at Madras were not averse to 
peace, and that proposals would be received. 
Colonel Smith, who had advanced with his di- 
vision of the army in pursuit of Hyder, near Pun- 
ganoor, received a message from him, desiring to 
know whether he would grant him a peace. He 
was informed in reply, that, if he had anything 
to propose, he should freely open his mind ; 
Hyder desired some person might be sent to 
him. Colonel Smith despatched his Dubash, the 
only person he had with him, to whom Hyder 



1768. said, (( he was sensible he could not oppose us in 
madras. the fie j d> ne i t her would he attempt it, but that he 
could give us much trouble ; and as he was forced 
to quit his own country, he was determined to 
enter the Carnatic, and do all the mischief he 
could, and, if reasonable terms were refused him, 
he would come to the gates of Madras to make 
peace." The Dubash felt that he could make no 
answer. To another party sent by Colonel Smith, 
on the return of the Dubash, Hyder stated, " he 
was determined not to return to Bangalore ; that 
he had left it well provided to the chance of war ; 
that it was possible we might take it in a month, 
but he should have Seringapatam and Biddenore 
remaining, and that, rather than lose all, he would 
call in the Mahrattas." He also deputed a person 
of consequence to the field deputies, by whom 
such moderate terms were proposed, that, had he 
been sincerely desirous of peace, he would have 
acceded to them ; but he abruptly broke off the 
negociation. The Council were satisfied his object 
had been to gain time, and to give him an oppor- 
tunity of drawing off the several powers, by 
publicly announcing that peace had been con- 

Apprehensions being entertained that Mhacle- 
rao would advance beyond the Kistna and join 
Hyder, the Bombay Council despatched a Resi- 
dent to Poonah, to draw off his attention. The 
sincerity of the Soubah was again doubted, as he 



had also sent an agent to Mhaderao. Every itgs. 
attempt was accordingly resolved upon by the Madras. 
Madras Council to distress Hyder, both on the 
Malabar coast and in the Coimbatore country. 
The Council at Bombay, from, a desire expressed 
by the Directors for peace, had abstained from 
further operations. 

Such were the difficulties and embarrassments Mr. Brome 
with which the Madras Council were surrounded, ^h. l ° 
and so great were their apprehensions as to the 
Mahrattas, that Mr. Brome, who had been ap- 
pointed Resident at Poonah, was authorized to 
propose a junction with Mhaderao, to enable him 
to conquer the Bednore country, although the 
Council were quite alive to the great increase of 
power that the Mahrattas would derive from that 

The mission of Mr. Brome was of no avail. 
The unfortunate situation of the Company on 
the Malabar coast, arising from their con- 
quests having been abandoned, and the weak state 
of the garrison at Bombay, of which Mhaderao 
was fully informed, left that chieftain free from 
any apprehension as to the Company's power 
being exerted to his prejudice. These circum- 
stances, together with a large sum of money paid 
him by Hyder, and the pressing entreaty of the 
Nizam (notwithstanding the solemn engagements 


* Letter to the Court, 16th November 1768. 
VOL. I. R 



{Chap. V. 


Mutiny at 

of the latter to the Company), that he would join 
Hyder, led to the conclusion of a treaty between 
Mhaderao and the Nizam ; by which, the latter, 
in lieu of the forts of Autoor, Nagore, and Dow- 
latabad, made over to him by Ragobah, was to 
receive the forts of Ausem and Bodamy, with a 
jaghire of twelve lacs of rupees, to be paid out of 
the country of Darood, to make up the difference 
of the revenues arising from the forts which he 
ceded : he agreeing to join the Mahrattas in 
assisting Hyder against the Company and the 
Nabob. At the date of this transaction (2d De- 
cember 1768), the following letter was received 
by the Council of Madras from Mhaderao : 

" As the firmness and strength of your friend- 
ship is known to every one to be superior in those 
respects even to the wall of Alexander, it is needless 
to pretend to enter into any discussions of it. In 
consideration thereof, I have sent my Vakeel, who 
will advise you of some matters which I have en- 
trusted to him." 

On the 28th November, Hyder's troops forced 
the Guzelhetty pass : Captain Andrews, who 
commanded, was killed in the defence. A few 
days afterwards, the garrison of Coimbatore mu- 
tinied ; they put to death both the commanding 
officer and paymaster, and then delivered up the 
fort to the enemy. This event created so great a 
panic in the other garrisons, that some were im- 
mediately abandoned, and the rest surrendered 



without opposition. On the 5th December, Colo- 17C8. 
nel Lang took the command of the army, relieving Madras. 
Colonel Wood, who had been ordered to the Pre- 
sidency, to explain the course he had pursued 
after Hyder's movement towards Ossour, the re- 
sult of which had produced great despondency 
both in the troops and their commander. 

Hyder repossessed himself of the several forts Hyder's sue- 
south of the valley, excepting Kistnagherry. He 
detached parties of his horse, plundering, burning, 
and laying waste the province of Trichinopoly 
and the southern countries. The fort of Trichi- * 

nopoly was only saved by the arrival of Major 
Fitzgerald in the neighbourhood. The ravages 
committed by Hyder's horse were great, the want 
of cavalry rendering it utterly impossible to check 
them. In fact, the country as far north as Gingee 
was destroyed, some of the straggling parties 
advancing to Chingleput. During the whole of 
January, the forces under Major Fitzgerald were 
marching and countermarching, in order to watch, 
and if possible to stop, the progress of the 

On the 12th February, a correspondence was 1769. 
renewed with Hyder, on the subject of peace. In 
reply to a letter from Major Fitzgerald, he ex- 
pressed a desire to terminate the war, and that 
an officer might be sent, to whom he could open 
his mind, promising at the same time to put an 
end to the ravages committed by his horse. Major 

R 2 Fitzgerald 



[Chap. V. 



Hyder corres- 
ponds with 
M. Law. 

Fitzgerald deputed Captain Brooke, who, by Hy- 
der's permission, took down in writing the conver- 
sation that passed, which led the Council to be- 
lieve that he was really inclined to come to terms.* 
A proposition was made, on the part of the Coun- 
cil, for a truce of forty days ; Hyder would only 
consent to twelve days. The terms he prescribed 
being inadmissible, preparations were made to 
watch his motions. He was at this time in com- 
munication with M. Law, at Pondicherry, which 
the French were busy in fortifying, under pre- 
tence of security against the Native powers. The 
following copy of a letter from Hyder to M. Law 
was discovered : — " It is a long time since I had 
the pleasure of receiving any letters from you ad- 
vising of your health, the news of these parts, and 
that of the French in Europe. Considering the 
friendship and regard which the French Company 
and the sirdars of their king in Europe bear to 
me, I am very glad to hear of the increase of their 
happiness and power, also of your health. You 
have, doubtless, heard from others the repeated 
victories which, by the blessing of God, have 
attended the Circar's troops ; also the defeat of 
the English, and my laying waste the Trichi- 
nopoly, Arcot, &c. countries. My victorious 
armies are now gone towards Madras, near to 
which place they will proceed ; when you will 


* Madras Consultations, January 1769. 


certainly send to me a person of distinction, to 1769 - 
inform me as well of certain affairs of your coun- 
try of Europe as these parts ; and till then, be 
constant in writing me very particular letters, 
advising of the above matters, the situation of 
affairs in Europe, the English sea-ports and their 
sirdars ; all which will be the means of increasing 
our friendship and regard. From Shah Mahomed, 
a servant of my court, whom I now send, you will 
be informed of my friendship. What can I say 

Experience having shewn, that it was impossi- want of 
ble to obtain any decisive advantage without a money/" 
body of horse, a communication took place with 
the Nabob of the Carnatic as to the best means of 
procuring that species of force. The distress of 
the Council was so great for want of money, that 
a stop was put to the investment on the coast, all 
further advances being interdicted : notwithstand- 
ing these extreme measures for relief, they stated 
that, they " knew not where to find resources for 
carrying on the war for more than four months 
longer." They applied to the King of Tanjore 
for a body of cavalry ; but Hyder had already 
despatched part of his force to the frontiers of 
Tanjore, and obliged the king to pay a sum of 
money, and to furnish a quantity of provisions, to 
save his country from being laid waste. It being- 
impossible to bring the war to a conclusion with- 

* Country Correspondence, 1769. 

tracted war. 


H69. out cavalry, Morarirow engaged to complete his 
horse to three thousand ; the Nabob was to fur- 
nish four thousand more, which, with the fifteen 
hundred he already possessed, and about five hun- 
dred the Polygars could supply, would form on 
the whole a respectable body. 
Causes of pro- The Council ascribed the protraction of the war 
to the three following causes : a divided power — 
the want of cavalry — and the want of money. 
They remarked, that the forces in the field were 
under the Company's servants, but the means of 
maintaining them were principally obtained from 
the Nabob, who was very jealous of control, espe- 
cially since our attainment of the Dewanny in 
Bengal, which led him to infer that the same 
result would follow at Madras. They did not 
hesitate to declare their opinion, that either the 
whole management of the Carnatic must remain 
in his hands or that of the Company ; and that 
if the revenues of the Carnatic were free and 
unencumbered, they might well afford to main- 
tain a respectable body of cavalry, besides one of 
infantry ; but under the existing embarrassments 
of the Nabob, it appeared to be impracticable. 
As to money, they had never been able to calcu- 
late a reasonable dependence on more than could 
meet three or four months of ordinary charges. 
The Nabob, at length perceiving his danger, and 
the indispensable necessity of a body of cavalry, 
engaged to procure both the cavalry and the 



means.* Great doubts were entertained as to his 1769. 
fulfilling his engagement ; had not large sup- WAnRAs - 
plies been furnished from Bengal, the affairs at 
Madras must long before have sunk under the 
burthen. These considerations led the Council 
to urge the expediency of a sum being always 
reserved at each of the presidencies to meet the 
extraordinary charges of war, in case the ordinary 
revenues should fail.f The incursions of Hyder 
determined the Council to fortify the Black Town, 
for which purpose a contract was entered into 
with Mr. Paul Benfield, in March. 

Hyder, finding himself much pressed by the 
force under Colonel Smith, near Chingleput, 
returned suddenly to the southward, and on the 
18th March, encamped on the Red Hills, near 
Pondicherry. Colonel Smith marched to Wan- 
dewash, where he was obliged to wait some days, 
to put his army in a condition to pursue the enemy. 

On the 28th, the Council received intelligence Hyder ad- 

from Chingleput, that Hyder's horse had appeared dra S C . eS 

near that place, and at twelve at night, the signal 

agreed upon was made at the Mount. On the 

29th, in the morning, several parties of horse 

appeared within the bounds of Madras, and it 

was ascertained from a spy, that Hyder, with 

more of his horse, but without guns or infantry, 

* This measure was the foundation of that portion of the 
Carnatic debt commonly called the " Cavalry Loan." 
f Letter, 8th March 1769. 



[Chaf. V. 


Letter from 

was on the other side of St. Thom6. About six 
o'clock in the evening, Hyder addressed a letter 
to the President on the subject of a peace : 

" After the arrival of Mr. Andrews, and the 
commencement of the negociation of peace, in 
person as well as by letter, a means of establish- 
ing a friendship between us took place. I there- 
fore addressed a letter to you, by a camel-hircar- 
rah, on the 13th March, in answer to one you 
sent me, and lay encamped near Balepore ; when, 
Colonel Smith arriving near my army, by con- 
tinual marches, with a design to attack me, I was 
under a necessity to move. Just at which time, I 
received your letter of the 17th, by the said camel- 
hircarrah, advising of your intention to send Mr. 
Andrews again to me, in a day or two ; for which 
reason, I encamped within three or four coss of 
Cuddalore, in expectation of his arrival. The 
laying waste of that place would not have been so 
difficult a task ; but still I declined it, out of 
regard to the friendship between us, as it would 
prejudice the trust that is usually put in sea-ports. 
Mr. Andrews, however, delaying his coming for 
some time, and Colonel Smith, notwithstanding 
the negociation of peace being on foot, again arriv- 
ing within two or three coss of my army, with the 
same design as before, I immediately decamped ; 
and with a view to settle a lasting peace, the 
soonest possible, am arrived at the Mount. My 
regard to our friendship, and the intercourse of 



letters which has passed between us, made me 1769 
decline coming to blows with the Colonel ; and Madras. 
the same consideration has made me entirely 
forbid the burning the villages, and seizing the 
cattle : on which heads, I have given proper orders 
throughout my army. I now write this, therefore, 
to desire you will send to me Mr. Dupre, who is a 
wise sirdar and one of the councillors, and with 
whom, moreover, I have maintained a correspon- 
dence since the first arrival of Mr. Andrews. To 
him 1 shall impart my thoughts respecting the 
establishing a peace and sincere friendship be- 
tween us, which, having fully understood, he may 
return and acquaint you with ; in which case, that 
foundation of a lasting peace, which we are both 
desirous of, will be established. In case of any 
delay therein, I am not to be blamed : let me 
hope, therefore, that you will send the said gen- 
tleman with all possible expedition. Entertain 
no apprehensions whatever, but be pleased to 
send him with a contented heart. For further 
particulars relative to my friendship, I refer you 
to the said Nizamuddeen. May your happiness 
always increase !"* 

The President replied to Hyder Ally Khan : — 
" By Nizamuddeen Ahamed, I have just now re- 
ceived your letter from the Mount, the friendly 
contents of which give me great pleasure, as you 
still express your good inclination to restore peace, 


* Country Correspondence, 1769. 


1769. and desire that I will send Mr. Dupre" to you for 
Madras. ^^ p ur p 0Se . That gentleman will set out from 
hence to-morrow morning early, to visit you ; and 
I hope all our differences will soon be adjusted to 
our mutual satisfaction. I therefore desire, as an 
earnest of your good intentions, that you will order 
your people not to plunder the Company's vil- 
lages, nor molest the people. If you will consent 
to this, I will empower Mr. Dupre to send a letter 
to Colonel Smith to halt at a proper distance." 
Treaty signed. On the following morning, Mr. Dupre* set out 
to join Hyder, with whom he continued the whole 
day, returning to the Presidency in the evening. 
The conference led to the conclusion of terms, 
and of a treaty, which was signed by Hyder on 
the 3d April. He announced his signing it in the 
following terms : — " I have the pleasure of your 
letter. Agreeably to your desire, I have put my 
seal to the treaty you sent. You will receive it 
by Mr. Stracy, to whom I beg leave to refer you 
for further particulars, as well as to the circum- 
stances of Colonel Smith's movements to-day. 
May your happiness and joy ever last!" 

It consisted of three articles. The contracting 
parties included the Rajah of Tanjore, the Mala- 
var Ram Rajah, and Morarirow, who were de- 
scribed as friends and allies to the Carnatic Payan 
Gaut ; also all other friends and allies of the con- 
tracting parties, provided they did not become 
aggressors against either of them; but if they be- 


came aggressors, they were not to be assisted by 1769. 

either.* Madras. 

The cavalry raised by the Nabob during the war 
were delivered over to him, but at his request they 
were to be placed under the Company's officers. 

Proposals were made to the Council, in May, counciuo^oin 
that thev should join the Nizam against the Mah- N^am against 

Jo o Mahrattas. 

rattas. The Council, in the event of the matter 
being pressed, determined to avail themselves of 
the clause in the late treaty, and likewise to de- 
clare that the situation of the Company's affairs 
did not admit of their affording the required as- 
sistance. In announcing their determination to 
the Court, they remarked : " Engagements and 
alliances with the powers of India must unavoid- 
ably expose us to perpetual dangers, troubles, and 
embarrassments ; but it will be extremely difficult, 
if not impracticable, to figure in the character of 
an Indian potentate, and yet avoid the dangers 
and inconveniences of Indian alliances and con- 
nexions. The Company's possessions in the Car- 
natic are not such as would give them that cha- 
racter ; but as possessors in part, and protectors of 
the whole, from Tinnevelly to Cuttack, they cer- 
tainly are regarded in that light, and subject to 
all the inconvenience of it." f 

After the treaty had been executed, Hyder in- 
sisted upon the release of all the Newaughts, and 


* Printed Treaties* f Letter to Court, 27th June 1769. 


1769 - the delivery of the stores in the fort of Colar. The 
Madras. Council, anticipating some further demands, 
consulted Colonel Smith as to the means of 
carrying on a war, should hostilities recom- 
mence. That officer declared that, considering 
the reduced condition of the troops, the distressed 
state of the country, and the inability of the Coun- 
cil to procure any certain pecuniary resources, 
there was no probability of their being able to 
prosecute a war with any prospect of success ; 
that they were not in a position to insist upon 
more favourable terms, and that even a temporary 
respite was of great moment to the troops. 

In consideration of these circumstances, and of 
the success of the enemy in the Tinnevelly coun- 
try, owing to the combination of the Polygars in 
his favour, and the miserable defection of the 
Nabob's sepoys, who fled from every part on the 
appearance of the enemy, the demands of Hyder 
were acceded to. 

Hyder shortly afterwards solicited the Council 
for a small body of troops, merely as a proof of 
the Company's connexion with him, to assist him 
with Janojee against Mhaderao. The Council 
referred him to the treaty, under which they 
declined acceding to his request, feeling that 
it would be unwarrantable to take part against 

On the termination of peace with Hyder, the 
Council brought before the Court the relation in 



which the Company stood towards the Nabob of 1769. 
the Carnatic. They declared that the terms of Madras. 
the late peace had been imposed upon them by 
imperative necessity, to which they had acceded 
from a conviction, that the result would only 
prove less disadvantageous than a continuance of 
hostilities, with means wholly inadequate to their 
vigorous prosecution. 

Had the negotiation with Hyder related to the Embassy's 
Company's interests alone, most of the difficulties Nabob of the 
which arose during the discussions would have arnauc 
been obviated. So far as the Company were 
concerned, Hyder was said to have evinced an 
earnest wish for peace and friendship ; but had 
the Company observed a neutrality, and left the 
Nabob to protect his own country, the Carnatic 
would have fallen to the first invader. Although 
in this powerless condition to defend his ter- 
ritories, the Nabob possessed, in its fullest ex- 
tent, the government of the country ; the appoint- 
ment of, and command over, the persons entrusted 
with the departments, and the entire disposal of 
its productions and revenues : on all points con- 
nected with the Carnatic, it was necessary that he 
should be consulted ; in fact, nothing could be 
done without his concurrence. His desire had 
been to continue the war, notwithstanding the 
absolute want of all materiel for the purpose. 
The treachery of his sepoys, in surrendering every 
fort that was attacked ; the extension of the cruel 



1769. ravages to which the country had been exposed ; 
Madras, a rooted hatred to Hyder ; a desire to extend his 
own possessions, and a belief in the Company's 
inexhaustible credit and resources in Bengal, sup- 
plied the motives by which he had been actuated. 
He never spoke of Hyder but as Hyder Naigue, 
although the Nizam and others had, as it 
suited them, used towards Hyder the title of Na- 
bob. Hyder as resolutely refused to use the term 
Nabob of the Carnatic, but designated him Ma- 
homed Ally, often accompanied with opprobrious 
terms. The Nabob absolutely declined being 
made a party to the treaty, as he would not sub- 
mit to give Hyder the title of Nabob. The Council 
were, therefore, constrained to conclude and en- 
gage for the Carnatic. 

The Nabob was desirous that the Company 
should disband their troops and retire within their 
possessions, leaving him to defend the rest of the 
Carnatic with his own means. The Council ob- 
served on the long friendship which had existed 
between the Company and the Nabob ; their pro- 
mises and engagements to support him and his 
family ; the large debt which he owed to them ; 
the probable detriment to these affairs, should the 
Carnatic fall into other hands ; and the certainty 
of that event, if not prevented by the interposition 
of our power, were urged as reasons for employ- 
ing the Company's troops whenever the country 
might be attacked. Arms, once taken up, could 



not be laid down at pleasure ; and although it 1769. 
might be nominally the Nabob's cause, it would, Madras - 
in point of fact, be that of the Company. From 
the first of his connexion with the Company, in 
1746, to the reduction of Pondicherry, in 1761, 
the Carnatic had been a continued scene of war, 
in which the Nabob had been reduced to the 
greatest extremities. The revenues had been 
wholly inadequate to the expense of the wars up 
to 1761. Before any reductions could be intro- 
duced, the defection of Usoff Khan in the Ma- 
dura country, and the subsequent hostilities with 
Hyder, had still further embarrassed his resources, 
besides the debts which he had contracted to in- 
dividuals. The Council, therefore, solicited the 
Court's views as to the future course of policy to 
be observed towards him, as, after all, he de- 
pended solely upon the Company for support ; as 
he had not a friend in the Nizam, the Mahrattas, 
Hyder, or the king of Tanjore. They stated, 
that they felt it necessary to put forward the 
facts ; deductions from them being matter of 

The Nabob was apprehensive, to the greatest 
degree, that, sooner or later, some pretence would 
be found by the Government to seize the Carna- 
tic, and establish such a system as had been in- 
troduced in Bengal. Although the day was, in 
all probability, far distant, when he would be en- 
abled to discharge his debts, and insist upon the 



1769. Company evacuating his forts and country, the 
Madras. Council desired to possess the Court's opinion, in 
the event of such a state of things arising. The 
value of the Company's acquisitions, including 
the Circars and Jaghire, was estimated at about 
thirty-five to forty lacs ; the Nabob's, between 
seventy and eighty : but this was not founded on 
any clear data. 

The Directors communicated their sentiments 
on the treaty with Hyder, and the views of 
the Council, in a despatch to Madras, in March 

" In your letter to the Nabob, dated I6th July 
1767, you say, it has been your intention, ever 
since 1761, to embrace the first favourable oppor- 
tunity of securing the several passes into the Car- 
natic. That you then had a favourable opportu- 
nity, because the Mahrattas had already struck a 
terror into Hyder's forces ; therefore, you urged 
the Nabob to exert his utmost to get this accom- 
plished. You afterwards promised him the govern- 
ment of the Mysore country. Your field deputies 
pompously appointed him phousedar thereof; and 
then you accuse him of having an insatiable desire 
of extending his dominions. He finds himself, by 
following your advice, reduced, disappointed, and 
almost despised ; and then you blame him for 
want of temper. 

" You have attempted to explain away the 



value of almost every thing for which you have 1769. 
ventured to plunge us into a war with a view to 
obtain. To such a degree of irresolution and dis- 
ability had your ill-conduct of the war reduced 
you, that necessity obliged you, at last, to give Mr. 
Andrews, in his instructions to treat with Hyder, 
a very extraordinary carte blanche, nearly to this 
effect : ' If Hyder will not relinquish places taken, 
we must relinquish pretensions thereto.' 

" You say the Nabob has the Bengal transac- 
tions always in his mind: — we wonder not at it. 
You have, contrary to our express injunctions, 
afforded but too much reason for all the country 
powers around you to suspect us of encroaching 
designs against their possessions and tranquillity, 
and gained no one advantage thereby. 

" In the first article of your treaty with 
Hyder, you include, in general words, all the 
friends and allies of the contracting parties, i pro- 
vided they do not become aggressors ;' but if they 
become aggressors, they lose the benefit of such 

" Now as, by the treaty with the Soubah, Ba- 
zalet Jung is prohibited expressly, at any time, 
from yielding Hyder the common formal civilities 
necessarily practised by country powers who are 
at peace with each other, we cannot conceive how 
Bazalet Jung can fulfil the condition by which he 
holds his circar, and yet continue on good terms 
with Hyder, as all our allies must do, if they act 

vol. i. s conform- 



[Chap. V. 



Circars taken 
under Compa- 
ny's manage- 

conformably to the first article of your treaty with 

" By your letter to the President and Council of 
Bengal, 21st March last, and their reply thereto, 
of the 31st of the same month, we find a plan has 
been concerted between you, for establishing a 
fund for military resources, by a reduction of the 
investments on which we had so much reason to 
depend. However salutary it might be to provide 
against future exigencies, after your investments 
shall have been carried to their full extent, yet it 
is with the utmost astonishment we see that our 
servants (apprised, as they are, of the obligation 
the Company is under to pay £400,000 annually 
to Government, exclusive of the indemnity for tea, 
which may be estimated at near £200,000) could 
entertain an idea of depriving us of the only means 
we could have to discharge the same, together 
with such dividends as the Proprietors might rea- 
sonably expect from our late acquisitions, and at 
the same time enable us to provide for the pay- 
ment of bills of exchange, or our common and 
necessary consignments, and the other important 
occasions which must indispensably be complied 

As the term for which the Circars had been let 
to Hussain Ally and Joquey Pundit expired in the 
ensuing September, the Council resolved upon 
taking the whole under the Company's manage- 
ment, and to settle with the Zemindars for their 



jummabundy. When originally let to Hussain 1769. 
Ally, two only of the four Circars had acknow- Madras - 
ledged the Company's authority ; and the Zemin- 
dars of those two, notwithstanding their assurances 
of fidelity and attachment, were ready to seize 
every opportunity to distress a government, to 
which they only submitted through fear. By the 
plan proposed, a competent knowledge of their 
mean value would be obtained, though the ex- 
penses of collecting the revenues might render it 
less advantageous for a time. The distinction 
between zemindarry and government lands was 
first pointed out. " The zemindarries are lands zemindarry 
held by certain rajahs or chiefs as their hereditary mentianuT 
estates, paying a certain tribute to the Govern- descnbed - 
ment, and being subject to suit and service, in 
manner very similar to the ancient feudal tenures. 
The tributes ought to be certain and invariable, 
though that has not always been strictly observed, 
and changes in government have also introduced 
changes in the tributes ; which, indeed, is of no 
great consequence, for, besides these fixed tributes 
(supposing they were so), the Supreme Govern- 
ment has always demanded, and custom has given 
sanction and title to, a further sum as a nazar, or 
free gift ; and these two sums, the tribute and 
nazar, are what we mean when we speak of set- 
tling the jummabundy with the Zemindars. Besides 
these zemindarries, or hereditary estates, there are 
certain lands (more in the Chicacole than any 

s 2 other 


1769. other of the Circars), which are called havely, or 

Madras, Government lands, and are the property of the 

state, or lord paramount. Such are yourjagueer, 

&c. lands, in the Carnatic ; and these are the lands 

which we purpose to let out, even should we, by 

way of trial, endeavour, to settle ourselves the 

jummabundy with the Zemindars for their lands."* 

Litigious and The introduction of English law had, at this 

violent pro- . . . . « 

ceedings of the early period, been productive, as in later times, of 

Grand Jury. . 

much inconvenience and annoyance to the Grovern- 
ment as well as to the natives. At a moment 
when the Company's affairs on the coast demanded 
the utmost attention of the Council ; when the 
whole of the country from Tinnevelly to the 
Kistna was involved in troubles, and when the 
enemy were ravaging the Carnatic, the Council 
were harassed by the violent and litigious proceed- 
ings of some members of the Grand Jury, who 
obstinately persevered in pressing matters and 
presentments, which threw the settlement into con- 
tentions and embarrasments ; whilst on other oc- 
casions they declined to make a return to any of 
the bills of indictment brought before them. 

The jurisdiction of the Mayor's Court, under the 
charter, became matter of doubt and dispute; the 
one party construing the word factory in the most 
extensive latitude, the other taking it in its literal 
and strict sense. 

" If," 

* Letter from Fort St. George, 27th June, 1769. 


" If," observed the Council, " the charter should i76P. 
be understood in the extended sense, including not 
only all the old districts, but the newly- acquired 
jaghire and all the circars, and, consequently, 
that we should be required to govern and manage 
these countries according to the laws of England, 
we hope your honours will pardon us if we frankly 
confess, that we are utterly unable to undertake 
such a task. It would be introductive of more dis- 
order and confusion than we can now describe : 
but, as we do not think that the charter can, by any 
natural construction, be extended thus far, we have 
only to hope that it may be understood not to 
extend beyond the places actually named without 
dependencies ; that is to say, Madraspatnam, or the 
Black Town, and Fort St. George, or the White 
Town, and so of every other factory. We are of 
opinion that, whether the Company hold their pos- 
sessions by one tenure or another, it was never 
intended by the grants, to abolish the usages and 
customs of the people, or the forms of adminis- 
tering justice." 

The whole subject was referred by the Directors 
to the consideration of counsel, who, after enter- 
ing very fully into the various points, stated : — 
" I have no doubt that the charter of justice counsel's o P i 
does not extend to any territories or places ac- Su°c" oTthe"" 
quired since that charter was granted ; conse- Grand Jury ' 
quently, the Presidency of Madras may be relieved 
from their apprehensions, that the jaghire lands 



1769. are within their jurisdiction. The extent of their 
Madras, power seems to be very exactly described in the 
forty-fifth paragraph of their general letter. 

" If any of the Grand Jury had complained to 
the court of their fellows for refusing to go on with 
their business, and nothing had appeared to jus- 
tify such refusal but what is said by the three 
memorialists in the court, it was the duty of the 
judges to set fines upon them, and commit them 
until the fines were paid. The court have also 
a power of fining those who refuse to attend the 
juries, who are liable to be called upon after they 
have been legally summoned : but fines are at the 
discretion of the judges, and in such cases £30 has 
been set. Nothing can be more illegal or insolent 
than the address of the Grand Jury to the justices 
of Oyer and Terminer, 26th April 1769 ; there was 
no punishment in the power of the court they did 
not deserve. But when a grand jury is dismissed 
for misbehaviour, and another summoned in its 
stead, the second is not to consist of any part of 
the first jury so dismissed ; and the taking a larger 
number at first into grand juries will prevent this 

" It is proper I should make some observations 
on the memorial sent to the Court of Directors, 
and the conduct of the memorialists. They, after 
they had found one bill of indictment, stopped 
short in the business, because they apprehended 
they were not qualified to act, the court, in their 



opinion, having illegally dismissed a former jury. 1769 - 
It is impossible to conceive a circumstance more 
foreign to their province as jurymen, or the busi- 
ness then before them. With equal propriety, 
they might have dated their disqualification from 
some misconduct in the Nabob of Arcot. It is 
again to be observed, that these gentlemen had been 
sworn on the Grand Jury, and as such had found 
an indictment. They imputed, and by their me- 
morial impute, the interruption thus given to the 
public justice of the country, to the feelings and 
dictates of their conscience, and could not by vir- 
tue of their oaths as jurymen (though with the 
same breath they declare themselves not qualified 
as jurymen) give any reason for their conduct. 
How this explosion was felt at Madras, I know 
not; but sure I am, that if it had burst in the 
King's Bench in this country, these gentlemen 
would not have been permitted to plead con- 
science for their outrage. If these feelings of 
conscience are real and genuine, the owners of 
such consciences are, indeed, disqualified for 
every important connexion with public society, 
as they have not the least power and control over 
themselves. Could it be imagined, that assisting 
in the administration of justice could offend the 
most tender conscience ? Can any employment 
be more innocent or honourable ? Against such 
qualms, so sudden, so unexpected, and so de- 
structive in their operations, human foresight has 



1769. n o protection. But if, on the other hand, these 

Madras. r t r • • a 

reelings of conscience are not sincere or genuine, 
but are only used as a cover, under which resent- 
ment, detraction, and malice conceal themselves, 
the owners of such consciences are the pest of all 
public society." 

The Court dismissed three of their civil ser- 
vants and one military servant, who had been 
principally concerned, and were parties to the 
memorial, leaving it to the Council to restore 
either or all, provided their conduct, in the inter- 
mediate period of the complaint, and the re- 
ceipt of the Court's order, had proved entirely 
satisfactory to the Council, 
conduct of the The French were at this period busily engaged 
in fortifying Pondicherry, under the pretence of 
security from the country powers. Two of their 
transports had gone to the Cape for provisions, 
after having been at the Mauritius, full of men and 
warlike stores. They had also made a settlement 
on the eastern coast of Madagascar for the better 
accommodation of their troops.* 
1768. The armament sent from Bombay against Hy- 

Operations der's possessions on the Malabar coast, in the 
on^oast 1 ©^ mon ^ 1 °f February, has already been noticed. f 
Malabar. That expedition consisted of five hundred Euro- 

peans and eight hundred sepoys, under the com- 

* Letter from the Council, 26th June, 1769. 
t Vide page 230. 


mand of Major Gowin, the marine force being noa 
placed under Mr. Watson, to whom was added BoMBAr - 
Mr. Sibbald, long resident at Onore, for the pur- 
pose of forming a committee to conduct any nego- 
ciation that might arise during the service. 

Mangalore, Onore, and Fortified Island, had 
been successively captured in the month of March. 
On the 9th of May, a considerable body of Hy- 
der's forces were reported to be within a short 
distance of Mangalore, commanded by the Nabob 
in person. They were shortly afterwards disco- 
vered posted on the hills, and bringing up their 
cannon with elephants and oxen ; their number 
amounted to six or eight thousand foot, and four 
thousand horse. Captain Boy£, who commanded company's 
at the fort, was consulted, and joined with the Mangalore. 
Committee in opinion that the fort was untenable ; 
that any attempt to attack the enemy in the field 
would be fruitless and unsuccessful, and that mea- 
sures should, therefore, be concerted for with- 
drawing the troops. Arrangements were accord- 
ingly made for that purpose ; but from great 
mismanagement in bringing up the boats, and the 
the irregularity and precipitancy with which the 
troops advanced to embark, one lieutenant, two 
ensigns, eighty-four Europeans, and one hundred 
and sixty-two sepoys, were either killed or fell 
into the hands of the enemy. 

The Council considered the whole transaction 
to call for strict investigation. They ordered a 



1768. general court-martial to assemble in November, 
Bombay. ^ qy ^ e ^ Ym y £ tfiQ officers, who had given their 
opinion to the council of war assembled at Manga- 
lore that the place should be evacuated, and also 
for the irregular and disgraceful manner of con- 
ducting the evacuation, in leaving the sick and 

several officers wounded to the mercy of the enemy. The find- 
dismissed. ing of the Court led tQ the dismissa i of several of 

the officers from the service. 

The treaty concluded with Hyder, by the Coun- 
cil at Madras, was not deemed conclusive as re- 
garded Bombay. A vakeel reached the latter 
Presidency from Hyder, on the 3d November, 
desiring that two members of the Board might be 
appointed to treat with him : Messrs. Church and 
Sibbald were accordingly nominated for that pur- 
Treatywkh pose. After protracted negociations, a treaty was 
Presidency of agreed upon, in the month of August, consisting of 
thirteen articles. The Company were allowed to 
build a fort at Onore, and to have the sole right of 
of purchasing pepper in the Nabob's dominions. 
The amount, or as much of it as the Company 
chose, was to be made good in guns, muskets, 
saltpetre, lead, and gunpowder, and the balance 
in ready money; the Company were to export 
from Mangalore what rice they might want ; to 
cut and purchase timber at Onore, and to be ex- 
empt from anchorage-dues ; the Nabob was not to 
assist the enemies of the English, nor the English 
the enemies of the Nabob. 



The Court disapproved of the article of the 1768 - 
treaty, which related to the supply of warlike 
stores to Hyder ; as it not only enabled him to 
strengthen his own power, but led to the belief that 
Mhaderao, with whom the Court were anxious to 
preserve a strict neutrality, might take umbrage at 
the condition, which permitted Hyder to add to 
his military means. 



1765-69. To preserve a correct narrative of the proceed - 

Attention of j n p. g f Parliament, in connection with those of 

Parliament ° 

directed to the the Company and of their governments abroad, 

Company's ' J ° 

affairs. reference must now be had to the acts of the Le- 

gislature, immediately following the acquisition of 
the Dewanny in 1765.* 

Intelligence of that event reached the General 
Court during its meeting on the 18th June 1766. 
After the despatches had been read, a motion was 
made to increase the dividend from 6 to 8 per 
cent. The Court of Directors were opposed to 
the motion ; they represented that, although the 
advantage of the new acquisition was undoubtedly 
important, yet the expenses incurred in the ex- 
tended military operations that had been carried 
on, had entailed on the Company a large and 
heavy expense, and they recommended, that be- 
fore any increase was made on the ground of the 
supposed enlarged profits, they should first dis- 
charge their incumbrances. The unanimous opi- 
nion of the Directors led to the withdrawal of the 
motion at that meeting, but a similar proposition 


* Vide page 146. 


was renewed and carried on the 26th September, rmo. 
notwithstanding a report from the Directors to 
the Proprietors strongly urged the prudence of 
abstaining from the measure. On the following- 
day the House of Commons called for a copy of 
the proceedings. At this time a negociation was 
pending with His Majesty's Government for a 
general arrangement of the Company's affairs. 
Parliament determined, before entering upon the 
more extended subject, to pass a law forthwith 
for regulating the dividend. The bill brought in 
provided against the declaration of a dividend but 
by the ballot, and that seven days' notice should 
be given before such ballot took place. In May 
1767, the Proprietors determined to petition 1767. 
against the bill ; the Court of Directors were 
strongly opposed to this course, whereupon the 
General Court demanded a ballot to decide the 
question, and that it should take place instanter. 
The votes were accordingly taken between the 
hours of eight and eleven in the evening, the ma- 
jority being in favour of the petition against the 
bill for regulating the dividend. So far however 
from the Proprietors obtaining their object, the 
House of Commons called for a copy of their fur- 
ther proceedings, and passed two Acts, the one 
prescribing the mode in which a declaration of 
dividend should be made ; the other limiting the 
power of voting at the ballot to Proprietors who 
should have had their stock six months, and also 



1767. providing that no ballot, on any question, should 
be begun within a less space of time than eight 
hours after the adjournment of the General Court 
in which the question might be proposed, and 
that in no case should the ballot commence at a 
later hour than twelve at noon, nor close earlier 
than six in the afternoon.* 

The regulation regarding the qualification of a 
proprietor to vote arose out of the mischievous 
practice which had prevailed of splitting large 
quantities of stock into sums of £500, (the then 
only qualification) by which separate and tem- 
porary conveyances were made. Thus dividends 
were declared, Directors elected, and important 
questions regarding India decided, under the ex- 
istence of a practice subversive of every principle 
upon which the General Court was constituted, 
and which, if continued, would have left the per- 
manent interest of the Company liable to be sacri- 
ficed to the partial and interested views of the few 
and perhaps temporary proprietors. 

These legislative measures were followed by 
further and more important proceedings regarding 
the Company. 

In the month of September the Court of Direc- 
tors received an intimation from the first Lord of 
the Treasury that it was most probable the Com- 
pany's affairs would engage the attention of Par- 

* Act 7 Geo. 3, cap. 48 and 49. 


liament in the ensuing session. A committee was i?67. 
accordingly appointed in November, who Called 
for the Company's charters, their treaties with and 
grants from the country powers, together with 
all their letters from their servants and agents in 
India, and also a statement of their revenues. 
Lengthened discussions took place — the question 
of the right of the Crown to the territories ac- 
quired by the Company was felt to be of too much 
importance to be lightly touched upon, and the 
Minister* declared fully against the trial of such 
a right in the House of Commons. 

The Company having petitioned Parliament, 
and submitted proposals for an agreement, the 
same were acceded to, an Act being passed by 
which the Company were to pay £400,000 a- year 
to the public, and to export a given value of 
British produce. f 

This agreement was renewed in 1769 for the 1769. 
term of five years. J At that period a general state 
of the Company's affairs ; the contents of the dis- 
patches . received from the three Presidencies, 
which announced the deputation to Shuja Dowla, 
in Bengal ; the prosecution of the war on the coast 
against Hyder, and the mission of Mr. Brome from 
Bombay to Poonah, were communicated to the 
Proprietors. They were also acquainted with, and 


* Lord North. f 7 Geo. 3, cap. 57. 

+ 9 Geo. 3, cap. 24. 


1769. fully concurred in, the determination adopted by 
the Directors, to send out a special commission, 
composed of three gentlemen of ability and expe- 
rience (Henry Vansittart, Luke Scrafton, and 
Francis Forde, Esqrs.), to superintend all the pre- 
sidencies and settlements, with full power to correct 
all abuses, and to dismiss or suspend such servants 
as might appear to have been concerned in such 
proceedings. They also resolved, that the Direc- 
tors should apply to the Crown for naval aid in 

Government Application was accordingly made to His Ma- 
propose to arm l * ° J 
the King's iesty's Government, but they were not disposed to 

naval officer J J . 

with powers of grant a naval force, unless its commander was 

a plenipoten- . . . 

tiary. invested with powers, as plenipotentiary, for treat- 

ing with Hyder Ally, the Mahrattas, &c. The 
Company were averse to arming him with such 
powers. Government were still of opinion that 
they should be conceded ; but subsequently sug- 
gested that they might be confined to his having 
a voice on all questions connected with peace and 
war. The objections of the Directors and Pro- 
prietors to this modification not being removed, 
it was urged by Government, that the commission 
proposed to be sent out by the Company was ille- 
gal ; and, moreover, that his Majesty could not 
consent to permit his forces to be subject to pos- 
sible employment, contrary to the engagement by 
treaty, to acknowledge the legal titles of the Sou- 
bah of the Deccan and Nabob of the Carnatic. 



Lord Weymouth, .who conveyed such intima- 1769 - 
tion to the Directors, desired that the sense of the 
General Court should be taken upon it. On the 
15th of August, the day appointed for the Gene- 
ral Court, another letter was read from his Lord- 
ship, in which he recapitulated the object con- 
templated in his former communication, and 
concluded by stating that, " The difficulty of a 
sole plenipotentiary, if ever it existed, is removed : 
the Crown does not desire to interfere with the 
powers of the commission ; wants no authority 
over your servants, nor any direction or inspection 
of your commercial affairs ; disclaims even a re- 
commendation of any person to be employed in it; 
in short, only wishes to be enabled to assist you 
effectually; and, in order to that, finds it neces- 
sary to have a share in the deliberations and reso- 
lutions of the Company, merely with regard to the 
two objects of peace and war, when his Majesty's 
forces are to be employed. " 

The proposed commission was declared by the 
Attorney-general and the Company's counsel to 
be free from any legal objections. The question 
of giving a voice to the naval commander-in-chief, 
in discussions as to peace and war, was considered 
in successive General Courts, and finally rejected 
on the 13th of September. 

Sir John Lindsay was nominated commander- sir John Lind- 

J say appointed 

in-chief of the King's ships in India ; he was like- t0 command 

° * King's ships 

wise appointed by the Company to take the com- in India. 
vol. i. t mand 


1769. mand of all their vessels of war in the Indian seas, 
and to treat and settle matters in the Persian 
Gulf. The commissioners were permitted to 
embark on board his Majesty's frigate Aurora, 
Although no official intimation was received of 
any King's ship being ordered to India, it appears 
that two frigates, of which the Anson was one, 
were dispatched for that station. 

The Stag, ship of war, reached Anjengo, with 

1770. gj r J hn Lindsay, in February, the Aurora, with 
the commissioners, had left the Cape in December 
preceding, but no tidings having been received 
of her in India in the month of September, the 
Council apprehended that some fatal accident had 
befallen her.* They, therefore, determined to 
despatch the Lapwing to England in September, 
by which conveyance they announced to the 
Court that, in consequence of the non-arrival of 
the commissioners, they had resolved to carry 
into effect the Court's orders of June, 1769, on 
the subject of the Dewanny revenue. 

Revenue sys- The Select Committee contended, that the 

tem opened. 

power of acting was vested in them; but the 
Council at large considered that, as the Court's 


* No intelligence was received of the Aurora, or her pas- 
sengers, after quitting England. In March 1 772, a motion was 
made in the House of Commons for a new writ for Reading in 
the room of Mr. Vansittart. The house refused to grant this 
writ, several cases being cited where members having been ab- 
sent four years had returned. 


orders were directed to the Supervisors, and not mo. 
to the Board or the Select Committee, if they Bengal * 
were to be taken up, it should be by the Presi- 
dent and Council at large. Councils of Revenue 
were accordingly appointed at Moorshedabad and 
Patna. Their instructions were framed in confor- 
mity with the Court's orders of June, 1769, and 
may be considered as the introduction of the Com- 
pany's revenue system . The Court observed : — 
"We have attended to the several informations court's orders 

as to the reve- 

and proceedings on the subject of the revenues ; nue manage- 
and from the result of our observations, we see 
reason to flatter ourselves that, with care and 
industry, great improvements may be made in the 
Dewannee collections. We find the revenues of 
the Calcutta lands, as well as of Burdwan, Mid- 
napore, and Chittagong, have been considerably 
augmented : and this increase gives us a sensible 
pleasure, because we perceive the number of in- 
habitants has increased at the same time, which 
we regard as a proof that they have found in those 
provinces a better security of their property, and 
relief from oppressions ; and it is with particular 
satisfaction we can attribute these advantages to 
their being more immediately under the Com- 
pany's management, and under the constant and 
minute direction of our covenanted servants. 
The like abuses, which have been corrected in 
these districts, are still severely felt through all 
the provinces of Bengal and Bahar, where the 

t 2 numerous 


1770. numerous tribes of Foujedars, Aumils, Sirdars, 
Bengal. ^ c p ract i se a u the various modes of oppression, 
which have been in use so long as the Moorish 
government has subsisted. To correct abuses of 
so long a growth will require much time and 
industry, and, above all, a patient and mode- 
rate exertion of the powers vested in us by the 
grant of the Dewannee : for we do not mean, by 
any violent and sudden reform, to change the con- 
stitution, but to remove the evil by degrees, 
by reducing that immense number of idle sy- 
cophants, who, for their own emolument and 
that of their principals, are placed between the 
tenant and the public treasury, and of which 
every one must get his share of plunder, the 
whole mass of which must amount to a most 
enormous sum. 

" Our intention is to proceed in this work, 
without taking off from any of those profits and 
emoluments which have usually accrued to the 
Zemindars, who have inherited lands from their 
ancestors, much less to add any thing to the rents 
to be collected from the tenants ; on the contrary, 
we mean to better the condition, both of the one 
and the other, by relieving them from many 
oppressions which they now labour under. 

■• But a plan of reformation of so extensive a 
nature cannot be effected by one man ; it must 
be the constant attention of many; and for this 
purpose we have resolved to establish a committee 



of some of our ablest servants, for the manage- mo. 
ment of the Dewannee revenues, at Muxadavad Bengai - 
for the Bengal province, and at Patna for that of 

" The gentlemen to be so appointed shall be 
comptrollers for the management of the Dewannee 
revenues under your direction, and they are to 
have so many other of our junior covenanted 
servants for assistants, as from time to time may 
be found necessary to be sent into the several 
provinces, to correct abuses and maintain the 
intended reformation. 

"The object of this council must be, first, to 
inform themselves of the real state of the collec- 
tions in every part : that is to say, what rents are 
at this time actually paid by the tenants, and 
what was paid formerly ; what is the nature of 
the cultivation, and what the chief produce of 
each district, and whether, in that respect, there 
seems a prospect of improvement. They are 
next to inform themselves of the amount of the 
charges of collection for some years past, in as 
particular a manner as possible ; and you are 
then to judge how many of the Aumils and other 
officers, among whom those immense sums have 
been divided, may be spared. This saving, as far 
as it can reasonably be carried, at the same time 
that it will be a profit to the Company in point of 
revenue, will likewise be a relief to the tenant : 
for it cannot be doubted but that these numerous 



i7?o. instruments of power lay the inhabitants under 
Bengal. contribution in various secret ways, over and above 
what appears upon the face of the accounts. 

(< In this reformation, you are to proceed with 
a moderate, steady, and persevering spirit of in- 
quiry, looking rather to the prevention of frauds 
for the future, than the punishment of those 
offences which have already passed, and which, if 
not justified, are at least much palliated, by the 
immemorial custom of the Moorish government. 

" The councils so to be appointed at Moorshe- 
dabad and Patna are to have the control of all the 
business relating to the revenue; but Mahmud 
Reza Cawn, or some other principal person of the 
country, must be appointed Naib Dewan for the 
Bengal province (that is, the Company's deputy), 
and all the business must be carried on through 
the Naib, and under his seal and signing; and, in 
like manner, Shitab Roy, or some other principal 
person, at Patna, for the Bahar provinces. 

"The Council of Revenue are to sit daily, or 
as often as may be necessary for the most minute 
attention to this important branch of business. 
The Naib is to give his advice and opinion of the 
measures necessary to be taken, the officers and 
collectors requisite to be sent to the different dis- 
tricts, and the orders and powers to be given 
them ; but the council are to consider and deter- 
mine the whole, and no appointments are to be 
made, nor the Naib's seal put to any orders, with- 


out their approbation ; and copies of all such 1770. 
orders and appointments are to be entered upon Bengal - 
their diary, or a book apart, and to be transmitted 
regularly to England. 

" We have said, in a former part of this letter, 
that we have no view to prejudice the rights of 
the Zemindars, who hold certain districts by in- 
heritance ; but when any of these die without 
heirs, the lands are to be let for a term of years, 
and upon such conditions as may encourage im- 
provements in the cultivation. In like manner, 
where lands lie waste, you should propose terms 
for settling them, giving the undertakers every 
advantage possible, to enable them to proceed in 
a work so beneficial to the community in general, 
and yielding to the Company, in process of time, 
a certain increase of revenue. 

" Before we close this subject, we cannot help separation of 
remarking, that there seems to us to be great ievenue and 
danger and impropriety, in having the powers of povvers - 
revenue and the powers of justice in one and the 
same person, which seems to be the case in the 
officers of the Foujedary, and, as we apprehend, 
in most other of the public offices of the several 
districts. This will be an object worthy of further 
inquiry ; and if the case is as it appears to us, 
those powers should be separated and distinct 
lines drawn." 

These instructions, far from evincing a spirit of 
rapacity, appear to have been framed with an 



1770. anxious desire to acquire the fullest information 
on the state of the revenue, and to act under it 
with the utmost consideration towards the natives : 
most especially in separating the executive and 
legislative power which had been vested in the 
hands of one individual. 

Mahrattas and The Mahrattas had constrained the chiefs of the 
Jauts to come to a settlement, by paying sixty- 
five lacs at given periods, besides an annual tribute 
of fifteen lacs, or a cession of lands to that value.* 
They then advanced and took possession of Eta- 
wah. Two of their detachments entered the 
province of Corah, seized the town of Bettoor, 
and laid claim to part of the Vizier's domi- 
nions, waving, for the moment, the conquest of 

Measures of These aggressions constrained the Council to 

depart from the principle which they had 
adopted of non-interference. The dominions 
guaranteed to the King and Vizier had been at- 
tacked or laid claim to by the Company's most 
formidable enemies. In accordance, therefore, 
with the treaty, and without waiting for a requi- 
sition, the Council determined to give immediate 
assistance ; they felt that delay would only in- 
crease the danger, and whatever aid ought to 
be extended, would prove infinitely more effica- 
cious if promptly afforded. They felt that ener- 

* Vide page 205. 



getic measures on the part of the Company might mo. 
infuse some degree of vigour into the timid coun- Bengal - 
cils of the King, and prevent the Vizier taking 
advantage of any of the events which frequently 
arise during a period of confusion, favouring the 
views of a man of enterprizing and ambitious 
spirit. The security of the Company's posses- 
sions was also involved in the determination. The 
force at Dinagepore was accordingly ordered to 
march to the banks of the Caramnassa, and the 
garrison at Allahabad to be reinforced, to ensure 
the safety of that fortress, in case of sudden 
attack during the absence of two of the King's 
battalions, which had marched from thence, at 
the requisition of his Majesty. 

In the month of- February, the Mahrattas raised Mahrattas take 
the blockade of Furruckabad, and proceeded in 
separate bodies, with great rapidity, towards 
Delhi, of which city they took possession, toge- 
ther with several branches of the royal family. 
It appeared from incontestable proofs, that this 
step was adopted not only with the concurrence, 
but actually under the advice and recommenda- 
tion, of the King himself, his Majesty subse- 
quently admitting that he was prompted to sug- 
gest that course, in order to prevent their pro- 
claiming the Shah-zada in his room. It soon project of the 
became evident that the King's intention was to ing ' 
join the Mahrattas, in the hope that he should 
effect his long-cherished object of gaining his 



1770. capital and being seated on the throne of his an- 
cestors. It was apparent, that he would rather 
see his capital in the hands of the Mahrattas, 
than in those of either Zabta Cawn, son of Nujib- 
ud Dowla, or his Vizier. The latter, in commu- 
nication with Sir Robert Barker, proposed that 
the Company's forces, with those of the King, 
and his own, should march without delay, and 
join the Rohillas and Patans, for the purpose of 
placing the King on the throne at Delhi. The 
Select Committee, although satisfied that the 
proposition could never be effected, concurred in 
it rather than appear to weaken the ties between 
the Company, the King, and the Vizier, as well 
as to preserve the King from falling into the hands 
of the Mahrattas. His Majesty at first acquiesced 
in the plan, but abandoned it shortly afterwards, 
and resolved to throw himself into the hands of 
the enemy. Sir Robert Barker endeavoured to 
dissuade his Majesty from pursuing such a step, 
and to induce him to join in the spirited measures 
apparently adopted by his Vizier for his restora- 
tion. It was likewise proposed, that he should 
send forward the royal standard, accompanied by 
one of the young princes, rather than undertake 
the project himself, until affairs appeared more 

mj The King, resolutely bent on carrying into 

effect his plan of proceeding to Delhi, disregarded 
all the arguments urged by Sir Robert Barker, 



who had pointed out to him the consequences mi. 
which would probably ensue; and quitted Alia- Bengal. 
habad on the 15th April, for the purpose of joining 
the Mahrattas. 

His Majesty's separation from the Company King joins the 
appeared unavoidable. Any act on the part of 
the Council, to restrain him, would have induced 
the Mahrattas to place the Shah-zada on the 
throne, and might also have irritated the King 
against the British interests. The Council, there- 
fore, resolved, as a mark of gratitude and respect, 
that Sir Robert Barker should attend him to the 
frontier of his province, and pay him every mark 
of attention. The King felt very sensibly this 
demonstration, and, at his own request, was per- 
mitted to take with him the four three-pounder 
field-pieces attached to his troops. 

The Vizier, unable to effect any change in the 
mind of the King, felt it to be his duty to aid him, 
both with money and troops, in order to promote 
a measure which he could not prevent ; but he, at 
the same time, manifested a due regard to his own 
interests : it being discovered that, in considera- 
tion of this aid, the King was to deliver over to 
him the fortress of Allahabad. The negociation 
for this object had been conducted so secretly, 
that the Council were not aware of it, until they 
received intelligence of the terms on which the 
cession had been made. This act, on the part of 
the King, was totally at variance with his profes- 


]771 - sions towards the Company, and, at the same time, 
evinced the determination of the Vizier to avail 
himself of every opportunity for strengthening his 
own power. The Council instructed Sir Robert 
Barker to point out these facts to his Majesty, and 
to endeavour to obtain the almost impregnable 
fort of Chunagur for the Company, as a counter- 
poise to the cession made to the Vizier. The 
possession of this fortress, and the King's residence 
in the Lower Provinces, had been strongly urged 
on the attention of the Council by the Court in 
Court's views. 1771 : * — " These, and such further arguments as 
shall appear most conducive to the end, will, we 
hope, prevail on the King to establish his residence 
at Rajah-mul, or Mongheer, or such other place, 
with the provinces, as may be thought most pro- 
per for the purpose, and most likely to preserve to 
us that influence which is so essential to the Com- 
pany's welfare. 

" The political interests of the Company make 
us no less solicitous to obtain from Shuja Dowla 
an exchange of the territories of Bulwunt Sing, 
for the provinces of Khorah and Allahabad, now 
held for the King, since by such an exchange our 
frontiers would be more easily defended, a greater 
influence would be preserved by us over the 
neighbouring powers, and we might possibly be 
relieved from the necessity of keeping up so large 


* Letter to Bengal, 10th April 1771. 


and expensive a military establishment as we have 1771 
at present in Bengal. BenGj 

" We are not insensible to the difficulties which 
may oppose your negociations on this subject. 
These, however, we persuade ourselves, may, in 
time, be overcome, by a proper attention on the 
part of our servants, and by their availing them- 
selves of the circumstances which may occur, 
either in the situation, desires, projects, temper, 
or wants of this prince ; and we recommend to 
you, to lay hold of every opportunity which may 
offer for accomplishing, by a friendly negociation, 
so desirable an end. 

" There is another object, of the most essential 
consequence, which calls for the utmost exertion 
of your abilities ; we mean, the obtaining from 
Shuja Dowla the absolute cession to us of the fort 
of Chunagur. 

" As we have experienced the strength of this 
fortress, and are sensible of the vast importance the 
possession of it would be to the Company, you 
must use your utmost endeavours to acquire, by 
friendly means, what could not be retained with- 
out violence; we, therefore, enjoin you not to leave 
unessayed any effort which prudence can suggest, 
for obtaining from Shuja Dowla, the cession of 
Chunagur Fort. But as our view is to acquire it 
by treaty, not by force, and considering also the 
situation, power, and influence of this Soubah, 
your negociations must be conducted with the 



1771. greatest caution and delicacy ; and you must strive, 
Bengal. j^v every fair and honourable means, to strengthen 
his friendship and engage his confidence ; never- 
theless, you must not abate of your attention to 
all his motions, nor forego any opportunity to im- 
press him with an opinion of our activity and 

" And here we take occasion to observe, that 
should we at any time obtain from him the cession 
of this fortress, you must not fail to keep in it a 
strong garrison of Europeans, under the command 
of an able and experienced officer, which posses- 
sion would enable you to do ; since the security, 
which our possessions would thereby receive, 
would admit of a reduction in our other garrisons. 

M Sensible of the difficulties which opposed 
your endeavours to obtain the removal of M. 
Gentil from the court and councils of Shuja 
Dowla, we approve of the delicacy with which 
you have acted towards the Vizier, in your requi- 
sitions on this subject ; but, as we cannot see a 
person of the abilities of M. Gentil (a natural 
enemy of this nation, as well as of the Company) 
continuing in possession of a power to promote 
the designs of France, and not be alarmed for the 
consequences of his influence at the Soubah's 
Court, you must, therefore, lay hold of the first 
favourable opportunity to renew your request to 
Shuja Dowla, to remove M. Gentil from his 



The King left in the hands of the Council two i?7i. 
of the young princes, as the best pledge of his Kevgat.. 
faith, and proceeded by slow marches through 
the Corah province. Sir Robert Barker attended 
him to within seven coss of its boundary, and on 
the 30th June had his final audience of leave. 
His Majesty gave the strongest assurances of 
friendship for the English nation, and of the 
grateful sense he entertained of the support and 
assistance they had at all times afforded him. 
The Council entreated his Majesty to be con- 
vinced of the attachment which they felt towards 
him, and of the readiness with which the Com- 
pany would receive and protect him, should any 
reverse of fortune compel him once more to return 
to his provinces.* 

The Vizier had formed an alliance with the 
Rohilla chief, Hafiz Rhamet, to guard against the 
Mahrattas, who threatened to deprive him of the 
Vizerat, unless he joined the King's standard at 
Shahjehanabad,-f where his Majesty arrived on 
the 6th January, 1772. He had also encouraged 
Frenchmen to enter into his service : the model 
of a new fort, intended to be erected by him, 
having been prepared in a masterly manner by a 
French engineer. These steps were not to be 
considered as manifesting any doubt on his part 
of the sincerity of the English feeling towards 


* Letter, 31st August, 1771. f Delhi. 


1770. him, but as indicating an apprehension of the 
Madras. Mahratta power, which was, in some measure, 
participated in by the Council. 

The Council at Madras advised the Court, that 
Mhaderao, the Mahratta chief, had expressed 
great dissatisfaction at the conclusion of the treaty 
with Hyder,* in August, 1769, as he had medi- 
tated an attack on the Mysore country, or on the 
Carnatic, in conjunction with Janojee, with whom 
carnatic liable he had come to terms. "Thus situated, amidst 

to irruptions. 

powers whose ambition will never suffer them to 
remain quiet, and whose interests lead them to 
disturb the peace of their neighbours, whenever 
their interest incites them to do so, it may easily 
be conceived how liable to interruption the peace 
in the Nabob's possessions must be." The Coun- 
cil stated that they expected to be pressed by 
each party for aid ; but as the Court had drawn 
the line " which appeared most eligible," they 
determined to pursue the course pointed out, as 
far as possible. 
Hyder seeks Hyder, in the month of December, urged the 

aid against the . . 

Mahrattas. Council to assist him against the Mahrattas, and 
referred to the treaty of 1769 as the ground for 
such demand. The Council evaded compliance, 
asserting that they could not be called upon to 
assist him, when it appeared that he was the 
aggressor — his refusal of the chout being cited in 


* Vide page 266. 

enter Mysore. 


proof that such was the case. The inconvenience i?70. 
of the treaty now forcibly pressed itself upon the 
Council. They were glad to avail themselves of 
any plea, to avoid being involved in fresh expense 
and hostilities, whether as principals or allies, 
being in daily expectation of the arrival of the 
Supervisors, to whose decision they desired to 
leave the matter. 

The Mahrattas entered Mysore in February. Mahrattas 
Hyder endeavoured to take post and secure the 
passes, to prevent their penetrating into the Bid- 
denore country. At this juncture, a vakeel arrived 
from Mhaderao, and expressed to the Council a 
strong desire, on the part of his master, to cement 
the friendship between him and the Company, 
referring, at the same time, to the Nabob of Arcot 
with regard to other points. These proceedings of 
Mhaderao grew out of the mission of Mr. Brome 
to Poonah, already noticed.* The Council felt 
embarrassed by the Mahratta chief referring to 
this circumstance. The mission of Mr. Brome 
had been resolved upon by the Council as a last 
resource, in the hope that some fortuitous event 
would set it aside. Such proved to be the case, 
as the treaty with the Mahrattas, the Nizam, and 
others, was concluded before the propositions, with 
which Mr. Brome was entrusted, were made 
known. Still, the object of the mission became 


* Vide page 241. 
VOL. I. U 



[Chap. VI. 



sufficiently public to authorize Mhaderao to claim, 
upon the ground of reciprocity, equal considera- 
tion at the hands of the Council. The latter felt 
themselves bound by the Court's orders, and 
admitted that, if it were practicable for them to 
remain passive spectators, and permit the native 
powers to exhaust each other, it was the most 
prudent course. They knew the Mahratta to be 
the most dangerous power ; and that even the 
united forces of the Company and of Hyder 
would not reduce them, whilst it might lead to 
their making a conquest of the whole of Mysore, 
and thus establish, at the door of the Company's 
possessions, a more powerful foe than even Hyder. 
On the other hand, were they to join Hyder, they 
were aware that a more advantageous offer from 
his enemies would draw him off the next day. 

The Nabob of Arcot was anxious to act with 
In this critical situation, the 
Council, desirous to avoid taking any part, assured 
Hyder's vakeel, that if they could not act with 
him, they would not act against him. The Sou- 
bah advanced to the banks of the Kistna, and there 
waited to see which party prevailed. 

The non-arrival of the Supervisors, and the cir- 
cumstances connected with the debts of the Nabob 
of the Carnatic, increased the difficulties of the 
Council, the Nabob's private creditors infusing 
into his mind an idea that they had power and 
influence to overrule the Court of Directors at 


Nabob desires 

to join Mali rat- .__- . 

tas; supported the Mahrattas 

by Sir John 


home. Their embarrassments were enhanced by 1770 
the conduct of Sir John Lindsay, who, having MAimAS 
arrived from Bombay, assumed, under what he 
considered to be plenipotentiary powers, a right 
to inquire into the conduct of the late war, and 
to hold direct communication with the Nabob. 
By this proceeding, the Council were not only 
placed at direct variance with his highness, but 
colour was given to the idea that there was a 
superior authority to the Company, to whom the 
Nabob could resort, as occasion or caprice might 
dispose him. Sir John Lindsay went so far as to 
require the Council to attend him when he pro- 
ceeded to deliver the King's letter to the Nabob : 
he also desired them to furnish him with such 
papers and documents of the Company as he 
might see fit. 

The Council determined to support the autho- Difference with 
rity of government, and not to " degrade them- Lindsay. 
selves" by being mere attendants on a functionary, 
of whose powers they were not satisfied. They felt 
that there was no medium. They observed, " we 
either must have delivered to him our papers and 
records, or not; — we must either have rendered 
him an account of our transactions, or not ; — we 
must have admitted him to have shared in our 
deliberations, or not. There appeared to be no 
room for hesitation. We were charged with the 
Company's affairs — we had no instructions from 
our constituents. Their rights were attacked : we 

u 2 must 


1770. must either have supported, or basely surrendered 
them. Our fortunes may be at stake in the issue ; 
but were our lives at equal hazard, we should, 
without a moment's hesitation, have taken the 
part we have taken. The die is cast ; we must 
stand the issue." Such were the terms in which 
the Council announced their having declined to 
obey the unauthorized requisitions of Sir John 

A mission more pregnant with danger to the 
Company's interests on the coast could not have 
been well devised, 
conduct of The advices from Madras, which announced 

John Lindsay, these differences with Sir John Lindsay, reached 
the Court of Directors, by the Lapwing, on the 
22d of March 1771. On the 8th of April, they ad- 
dressed the following letter to the Earl of Rochford, 
one of his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State : 

Letter from " The late advices from India, brought by the Lapwing, 

iMaiesty^s US are °^ so verv interesting and alarming a nature, that wc 
Minister, as to think ourselves indispensably obliged to lay the purport of 
Lindsay. them before his Majesty's Ministers, together with our sen- 

timents on the present state of the East-India Company's 
affairs upon the coast of Coromandel, produced as we have 
reason to apprehend, from the exertion of powefs which, till 
within a few days past, we could not have the least reason 
to conceive were ever delegated to Sir John Lindsay, in any 
quality he holds from his Majesty in the East-Indies. 

Sir John Lindsay, my Lord, in express contradiction to 
the assurance given to the Company by his Majesty's Secre- 
tary of State, your Lordship's predecessor in office, has, 




under his hand, insisted that he has his Majesty's authority 1770 

and plenipotentiary powers from the Crown, to execute any Ma 
treaty with the Princes of the country, which may be 
judged necessary to preserve peace in India. 

He has also, in like manner, insisted that his Majesty has 
been pleased to appoint him his minister, and to invest him 
with plenipotentiary powers to treat with the Princes of 
India. The first intelligence this Company received of 
their existence, was communicated to them by their Presi- 
dency of Madras, by advices which arrived so late as the 
22d ultimo. If they appear alarming now, well might 
they be thought in the utmost degree perplexing and dis- 
tressful to the Company's servants there, who are told by 
Sir John Lindsay, that he is commanded by the King to 
apply to the Governor and Council of that settlement for a 
full and succinct account of all their transactions with the 
Nabob since the Treaty of Paris (concluded near eight 
years before this requisition) ; that it is his Majesty's plea- 
sure he should enquire, with the utmost care, into the causes 
of the late war with the Soubah of the Deccan and Hyder 
Ally, and the reason of its unfortunate consequences ; and 
he, therefore, makes no doubt but they will, with the ut- 
most alacrity, put him in possession of the original papers, 
or authenticated copies of all their transactions since the 
said Definitive Treaty, in order to enable him to render a 
faithful account thereof to the King ; and that the wisdom 
of Government may co-operate with the prudence of the 
Company, to establish a lasting peace in India. 

We beg leave to express our hopes, that our servants, in 
the situation and circumstances they found themselves, will 
stand fully excused in your Lordship's sight, as they do in 
ours, for not considering themselves warranted to comply with 
such a demand. At the same time, we must beg leave seri- 
ously to affirm, that the promulgation of the plenipotentiary 



1770. powers, claimed by Sir John Lindsay, must necessarily end 

Madras. m the total loss of authority and consequence to the Com- 
pany in India, where all princes being despotic, they will 
never be brought to believe, that when the King of Eng- 
land delegates his power to a minister, the representatives 
of the East-India Company are entitled to any confidence, 
regard, or attention. Such, in truth, my Lord, are the 
consequences already, in no small degree, felt by this Com- 

The Governor and Council of Madras, in their letters, 
affirm, that since the arrival of Sir John Lindsay, and the 
operation of his extraordinary powers, their influence is 
greatly diminished, and that the most fatal consequences to 
the Company are to be apprehended. It is our duty, as 
representatives of the East-India Company, concurring with 
our Presidency abroad in their sentiments, to lay before 
your Lordship our apprehensions also, that unless some 
speedy remedy be applied, the ruin of the Company, from 
the loss of their consequence, influence, and credit, will in- 
fallibly ensue." 

Lord Rochford's reply was dated St. James's, 
20th April 1771: 

" In answer to your letter of the 8th instant, I must inform 
you, that the repeated complaints made by the Company 
of the mismanagement and disobedience of their servants in 
India, which caused them to desire from the Legislature 
more extensive powers for their coercion, and induced them 
to send out Supervisors invested with the highest authority, 
first suggested to his Majesty the expediency of giving his 
commission to a person of confidence, to procure the fullest 
information on the spot, of the manner in which affairs had 
been conducted in that country ; the thorough knowledge 
of which the King could not but consider as a principal 



national concern, as well as of the greatest consequence to 1770. 

the interest of the Company. His Majesty was the more Madras. 
called upon, in this case, as his own honour, pledged for the 
performance of the engagements entered into by him in the 
last Definitive Treaty, was in the hands of the Company's 
servants carrying on the government in India. 

His Majesty has reason to apprehend, that the Governor 
and Council of Madras gave themselves the first rise to the 
opinion of a contest between the King and the Company, 
by their improper reception of Sir John Lindsay, and their 
refusal to do the usual honours to the delivery of hi s 
Majesty's letter and presents ; which opinion, if it should 
at first starting be worked up by the ignorance of the peo- 
ple of that country, and their ideas of despotism, into pre- 
judices hurtful to the consequence and influence of the 
Company, cannot but be checked in a short time, by the 
positive instructions given to Sir John Lindsay to avoid, as 
far as possible, even the appearance of any dispute with the 
Company, which might produce the most unfortunate con- * 
sequences in the present state of affairs. 

The King, in his last letter to the Nabob, has been 
pleased to express his confidence in the Company, and his 
desire to connect them inseparably with that prince ; and 
Sir Robert Harland, whom his Majesty has appointed to 
succeed to the commission of Sir John Lindsay, besides the 
particular orders given him to promote, as far as possible, a 
strict union between the Nabob and the servants of the 
Company, and to remove every suspicion of the Company's 
lying under the King's displeasure, received instructions to 
make the support of their importance and honour in the 
eyes of all the powers in India, a principal point of his 

I have received his Majesty's commands to repeat those 
instructions, and to guard against any mistake of the real 




[Chap. VI. 



Reasons for 
inserting pro- 
ceedings at 

extent and meaning of the powers given Sir Robert Har- 
land, by conveying to him such an explanation of them as 
will leave no reason of apprehension to the Company ; but 
on the contrary, will, whenever they shall be exerted, be a 
convincing proof of his Majesty's paternal care and regard 
for their interests, by shewing them to be the object of his 
protection and support.'" 

It may be remarked, that a reference to matters 
of so remote a date might have been spared, as 
they have long ceased to possess the interest which 
belonged to them when the events occurred. The 
same remark will apply with equal force to all 
historical records. In tracing the chain of events 
which took place in the extension of our power 
in India, it cannot be uninteresting to many who 
have been associated in the administration of the 
affairs of that empire, to learn the difficulties with 
which the home authorities had to contend, and 
the course which they followed, in maintaining 
their rights, and in meeting those difficulties, 
before they became subject to the legislative con- 
trol which was engrafted on their chartered pri- 
vileges ; and although that control circumscribed 
their powers, it so identified the interests of the 
State with those of the Company, that the latter 
were relieved from a recurrence of the embarrass- 
ments which they had experienced in early times 
from the want of aid in most critical and trying 
council dis- The Council had injudiciously involved them- 

pute powers of J 

General Coote. selves in a dispute with Major- General EyreCoote, 



who had been appointed commander-in-chief of 1770. 
the Company's forces, by the Court of Directors. Madras - 
A difference of opinion arose, as to the terms in 
which the General was to be announced in orders 
to the army, on assuming the command. 

The Council proposed that the same terms 
should be used as on the occasion of General Law- 
rence's appointment : to this General Coote ob- 
jected. The Council, impressed with the neces- 
sity of preserving the supremacy of the civil power, 
suggested, in order to obviate the greater evil, 
that in lieu of a general order being published, 
letters should be addressed to all the commanding 
officers, to make their returns to General Coote. 
The General would not consent to this ; and he 
determined to remain in a private capacity, until 
he received the opinion of the Councils at the 
other presidencies. 

As the remodelling the military establishment 
required that no time should be lost, Brigadier- 
General Smith was requested by the Council to 
take the command of the troops on the coast ; but 
believing that General Coote intended very shortly 
to proceed to Bengal, he suggested that the order 
might be deferred until his departure. General 
Coote did not remain in India : he quitted Madras 

x General Coote 

for Bombay, from whence he proceeded to Busso- returns to 
rah, and thence to England via Paris. The Court 
condemned, in strong terms, the conduct of the 
Council towards General Coote, who was re- 


1770. quested to hold himself in readiness to return to 
m AE kas. India> 

Rajah of Tan- The conduct of the Rajah of Taniore had been 

jore, and the J J 

Naboh of Ar- animadverted upon by the Court of Directors, in 

cot's claims on ... 

him. consequence of his backwardness in joining the 

Company's forces with his horse, during the hos- 
tilities with Hyder, and, that when they did join, 
they had been of little or no use. The Rajah had 
received protection at the hands of the Com- 
pany, and his country had enjoyed uninter- 
rupted tranquillity ; it was, therefore, considered 
unreasonable, that he should withhold all contri- 
bution towards the preservation of his possessions, 
which were very fruitful, affording abundant 
means for supplying the troops engaged in the 
defence of the Carnatic, an object in which he 
was deeply interested.* The Nabob had made 
strong representations to the Council, in support 
of his claims on the Rajah of Travancore, and 
the Court of Directors had enjoined the Council 
to give the Nabob every assistance, consistent with 
justice, in prosecuting them. 

correspon- The Council were at this time apprised that 

dence of Hyder -, i i i • j i 

with Tanjore. a correspondence had been carried on between 
Hyder and the Rajah. The former had promised 
to obtain a remission of the peshcush due from the 
Rajah to the Nabob, in consideration of the assis- 
tance the Rajah had offered him. A communica- 

* Letter to Madras, 1769. 


tion was stated to have been made to the Nabob's 1770. 
vakeel from Hyder that, although it was not the Maduas - 
intention of the English to afford him any assis- 
tance, he should nevertheless use his endeavours 
to obtain it. There was also reason to believe 
that Hyder was in correspondence with M. Law 
at Pondicherry. 

In this state of affairs, the Council addressed Embarrass- 

s~i • 1Tr ments of the 

the Court in the following terms: — " We are sur- council. 
rounded with difficulties, which we cannot, dare 
not, venture to explain or even suggest ; but should 
our apprehensions not be completely verified, by 
the failure in any one instance, the whole might 
seem the effect of prejudice. The views of the 
ministry, such as they appear to us — the secret 
transactions between the Nabob and Sir John 
Lindsay — the fluctuating state of the Company's 
affairs — the prepossession in favour of the Nabob, 
which he knows full well, and even more, we be- 
lieve, from private than public assurances — all 
these create doubts which, in better times, in all 
our difficulties and all our dangers, we should op- 
pose with resolution, firmness, and perseverance, 
were we even but sure of support from the Court of 
Directors. With respect to ourselves personally, 
we consider our fate as sealed by our transac- 
tions with Sir John Lindsay and with General 
Coote. We are right, or we are wrong : there is 
no medium. But in regard to the Company, per- 
mit us to recommend some stable form of govern- 



[Chap. VI. 


Court's views 
as to the con- 
duct of the 

ment and system, in which you may confide, and 
which you will support ; for without a confidence, 
on the part of those whom you employ, that they 
will be supported, their measures never can have 
that firmness, spirit, and vigour, which are so 
essentially necessary to the prosperity of your 
affairs.' ' 

Before the answer of Lord Rochford to the 
Court's representation regarding Sir John Lind- 
say's conduct had been received by them, they 
addressed the Madras Council, approving of their 
conduct towards the Mahrattas and Hyder Ally. 
They expressed regret at the Nabob's differing in 
opinion with the Council, and trusted that they 
would find means to divert his mind from Mhaderao. 
They perceived with anxiety, that the affections 
of the Nabob, and his confidence in the Council, 
had been of late much weakened ; they wished 
the Council to deliberate on the steps to be taken, 
with coolness and impartiality, and once being 
resolved, to act with vigour and effect ; assuring 
them that being conscious of the purity of their 
intentions, they should receive the support of the 

In alluding to the war between Hyder Ally and 
the Mahrattas, the Court remarked, that the views 
of the Council were expressed in a strain of timi- 
dity and despondence, unsuited to the Company's 
real situation in India. They observed ; " Fear 
begets weakness in council, and irresolution in 





action. It is in a choice of difficulties, that great- mo. 
ness of mind finds an opportunity of distinguish- 
ing itself. Conscious of our own superiority and 
power in India, it seems to be our proper line of 
conduct to observe a steady and uniform neutra- 
lity, till such time as our own dignity and interest 
call upon us to interfere, and then a favourable 
moment should be seized." The Court did not 
perceive that the war carried the appearance of 
any immediate danger. They considered that the 
dissensions among the Indian powers could only 
serve to augment the influence of the Company, 
who, while they shewed their strength and kept 
it up, would be courted equally by all parties. 
The moment the Company adhered to any one 
party, they would make enemies of all the rest. 
It was the desire of the Court to fulfil, in the 
most scrupulous manner, all engagements with 
the Nabob ; but viewing things in a more gene- 
ral light, it would certainly be of no consequence 
to the Company, who were masters of the Carnatic, 
provided it were kept out of the hands of their 
European rivals, the French. 

They desired the Council to represent to the 
Nabob in the strongest, although in the most re- 
spectful terms, the injury he did himself, in endea- 
vouring to create a difference between the King's 
and the Company's servants and in imagining a 
separation of interests, when, in the end, he would 
be convinced none could exist. Whatever trifling 



1770. disputes of form and ceremony might have arisen 
Madras. between them at the first, he would soon see that, 
in essentials, they must and would agree. The 
Company's connexion with the Nabob stood en- 
tirely on ancient friendship and reciprocal kind- 
ness : the Court wished to continue it on the 
same footing; but they observed, the Company 
could not be compelled to follow his projects when 
they appeared totally repugnant to our interests. 
So, on the other hand, the Nabob could not be 
forced into the Company's views, should they be 
disagreeable to him : all that was, therefore, left 
was to expostulate with him. He would deter- 
mine for himself, and the Company for themselves. 
The dangers which threatened the Carnatic, from 
the Mahrattas, were more immediately the object 
of his concern than of the Company ; and the join- 
ing Hyder Ally (even were it expedient), without 
the concurrence of the Nabob, would be a mea- 
sure of perplexity, as it might lead to a situation 
where the different engagements of the Company 
clash, viz. that of supporting the Nabob by the 
Treaty of Paris, and of defending Hyder by the 
last treaty with him : engagements which it 
might also become impossible at the same time 
to fulfil. 

With regard to Sir John Lindsay, the Court 
observed, that it did not become them to pro- 
nounce on his conduct, unacquainted as they 
were with the extent of his powers and the na- 


ture of his instructions ; but they had a right to 177 °- 
judge of that of their own servants, and it was 
with pleasure they declared their perfect satisfac- 
tion in the general line of the Council's behaviour, 
and their acquiescence in every step they had 
taken for the support of their own dignity and the 
rights and privileges of the Company, which, the 
Court felt, "rested upon as high authority as the 
King's commission — Royal Charters, confirmed by 
repeated Acts of Parliament." 

The Court, at the same time, expressed their 
persuasion, that the disagreements and disunion 
of councils, between the representative of the 
Crown and the servants of the Company, were 
altogether repugnant to his Majesty's gracious in- 
tentions. It was apparent from Lord Rochford's 
letter, that Sir John Lindsay had no authority to 
demand of the Council a succinct account of all 
their measures, or to be put in possession of the 
original papers relating to their transactions since 
the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris.* 

Admiral Sir Robert Harland, who had been 
appointed to succeed Sir John Lindsay, with the 
same powers, and a more respectable naval force, 
was charged with instructions from the King, to 
avoid, on any occasion, the appearance of lessen- 
ing the consequence of the Company in the eyes 
of the natives of India, and he received the 


Fide page 294. 


1770. strongest injunctions, to remove the then existing 
madras. causes f disquiet and disunion. 

At the time that these points were engaging 
the attention of the authorities in England, the 
Nabob of the Carnatic, supported by Sir John 
Lindsay, was urging the Council at Madras to 
join him in an alliance with the Mahrattas against 

1771. The Council refused to concur in such a step, 
£°o^n n the fuSe anc * dwelt upon the injury which arose to the 
Nabob in an Company's affairs, by such an interference as that 

alliance with r J J 

the Mahrattas. exercised by Sir John Lindsay. " To give you," 
observed the Council, in writing to the Court, "a 
clear representation of the dangerous embarrass- 
ments through which we have been struggling to 
carry on your affairs, since the arrival of his Ma- 
jesty's powers in this country, is a task far beyond 
our abilities : they are daily more and more op- 
pressive to us. It has always been our opinion, 
that, with your authority, we had that of our Sove- 
reign and nation delegated to us through you, for 
managing the important concerns of our country 
under this Presidency. It is upon the prevalence 
of this opinion in India that our influence and 
your interests are vitally founded. It was in the 
confidence of this opinion that your servants, 
exerting all their vigour, acquired such power and 
wealth for their country." 

After offering some remarks, as to what might 
have been the objects and motives of his Majesty's 





Government in sending Sir John Lindsay to India, 1*7*. 
the Council pointed out the striking opposition 
between that officer's political system when he first 
reached India, and that by which he was now go- 
verned. "At first he was the declared guardian of 
peace ; now, he declares for hostile measures, and 
accuses us of a criminal inactivity. He would 
willingly lead us into war, to favour the Mahrattas 
and increase their power ; and, not succeeding in 
that, he would drive us into immediate hostilities 
with Tanjore, before we are prepared to act with 
vigour and effect,' even with the certainty of bring- 
ing down the Mahrattas in an hostile invasion on 
the Carnatic, and at the risk of tempting the 
Nizam to an attack upon the Northern Circars. 

" Were we permitted to deliver our sentiments 
relative to the preservation of the national in- 
terests here, we should humbly offer it as an opi- 
nion that, if his Majesty will not be pleased to 
recall his servant and powers, and leave us uncon- 
trolled, but accountable for our measures, there is 
a necessity that the forces we command be taken 
into the hands of the Crown, and transferred with 
plenary powers to the absolute direction of his 
Maje&ty's minister." 

The erroneous impressions that had been crea- 
ted in the mind of the Nabob, received additional 
force from a matter which, under the existing cir- 
cumstances, tended to lower the Presidency, and 
add to the importance of his Highness. A 

vol. i. x despatch 



[Chap. VI. 



Rajah of Tan- 

His proceed- 
ings against 

despatch reached the Council, announcing that 
his Majesty had been pleased to confer the dig- 
nity of Knight of the Bath on Sir John Lindsay 
and Major-General Coote, and that the insignia 
of the order had been sent to the Nabob, with full 
instructions for his investing the knights with the 

The conduct of the Rajah of Tanjore towards 
some of the Polygar chiefs, increased the points 
of difference between the Nabob and the Council. 
The Rajah had advanced, in the month of April, 
against the Marawar country, under pretence 
that some districts had been wrested from the 
Tanjore government. The claim to those districts 
was resisted by the Nabob, who contended that 
the Rajah was a tributary to the Circar of the Car- 
natic, and that he had no right to call the Polygars 
to account. The Council were satisfied of the 
impropriety of the Rajah's conduct ; the Pre- 
sident addressed a letter to him, pointing out the 
relation in which he stood towards the Nabob, and 
the surprise that had been occasioned by his pro- 
ceeding to attack Moravee, a Polygar dependent 
upon the Trichinopoly country. 

The Rajah stated in reply : — " If I suffer Mora- 
vee to take possession of my country, Nalcooty to 
take my elephants, and Tondaman to injure my 
country, it will be a dishonour to me among the 
people, to see such compulsions used by the Po- 
lygars. You are a protector of my government ; 




notwithstanding, you have not settled a single ni 
affair. I have finished the affairs relating to Mo- M 
ravee, and confirmed him in his business : the 
affair with Nalcooty remains to be finished, which 
I shall also finish." 

It was ultimately settled, that recourse should Nabob's son 
be had to negociation ; and as the Tanjore vakeel against Tan- 
did not possess authority to settle the disputes, 
the Nabob resolved to depute his eldest son, Om- 
dut-ul-Omrah, to Trichinopoly. His mission 
was supported by the Council's despatching troops 
and stores for Trichinopoly, to be in readiness to 
act against Tanjore, should circumstances call for 
such a measure. 

The Rajah refused submission. A force under 
General Smith accordingly marched from Trichi- 
nopoly, on the 13th September, and arrived before 
Vellum, eight miles south-west of Tanjore, on the 
16th. On the morning of the 20th, a battery was 
opened against it, and at midnight the fort was 
evacuated. On the 23d, Tanjore was invested. On 
the 27th, at the moment the breach was reported 
practicable, a letter was received by General 
Smith, from Omdut-ul-Omrah, announcing terms 
of accommodation; and, on the 27th of October, a 
peace was concluded between the Nabob and the 
Rajah, without the intervention of the Company.* 

The fort of Vellum was ceded to the Nabob, 


* Vide Printed Treaties. 
x 2 


im. who requested that the Council would place a 
Madras. garrison in it, in order to render it an effectual 
check on the Rajah's conduct. The Marawar and 
Nalcooty Polygars not having obeyed the requisi- 
tion of the Nabob, to join with their forces in the 
operations against the Rajah, the Nabob urged 
the Council to call them to account. 
sir Robert Sir Robert Harland reached Madras, in corn- 

reaches Madras mand of a squadron of his Majesty's ships, on 
King's 'letter tne 2d of September. He announced his arrival 
to the Council, whom he met assembled on the 
13th, and informed them that he possessed full 
powers, as the King's plenipotentiary, to inquire 
into the observance of the eleventh article of the 
Treaty of Paris ; and that he had a letter from 
his Majesty to the Nabob. The letter was de- 
livered to his Highness by the Admiral, the 
troops in the garrison attending the ceremo- 
nial. On the 1st of October, having inti- 
mated to the Council his readiness to be of any 
use in the progress of their affairs, he quitted the 
roads, in order to avoid the approaching monsoon, 
and retired toTrincomalee, despatching a vessel to 
ascertain the state of the French force at the Mau- 
ritius, which was reported to be very consi- 

In the early part of December, there being- 
reason to apprehend that the Mahrattas were ad- 
vancing towards the Carnatic, the Council re- 
solved to move the troops into a central position, 



that they might more effectually present a check i77i. 
to their incursions. Madras. 

The Nabob being' opposed to this measure, still Council decline 

& rr ' to.iom the 

pressed the Council to assist him. by joining with Nabob with the 

r ' J J 5 Mahrattas 

the Mahrattas against Hyder. The President had against Hyder. 
an interview with the Nabob, at which he pointed 
out his Highness's total want of means to defray 
the charge of such a proceeding, even were it 
sound in point of policy. Failing in inducing the 
Council to fall in with his views, the Nabob called 
in the aid of Sir Robert Harland, and stated to 
him the advantages which the Mahrattas had pro- 
mised, in the event of his assisting them, in con- 
junction with the English, and the distress which 
would be occasioned to him should he not effect 
that object : adding, that he had been called upon 
to pay a considerable sum to the Company ; that 
he had a load of debt ; that his treasury was ina- 
dequate to meet all these demands ; that an invasion 
of his territories would lead to the destruction of 
the Carnatic ; and that he, therefore, appealed 
to, and claimed, the royal protection. 

This proceeding led Sir Robert Harland to ad- sir Robert 
dress the Council. He stated that, should a ports views of 
peace be refused to the Mahrattas, on the terms 
which they proposed, they threatened to destroy 
the whole of the Carnatic "with fire and sword," 
and they had a great army on the frontiers to 
carry their threats into execution. The Admiral 
was not backward in asserting and acting upon 



1771. the powers which he considered he possessed. 
Madras. jj e b ser ved, that the peace of the Carnatic, the 
prosperity of the Company, the preservation of 
the British interests, and the permanency of their 
influence in India, appeared to him very proper 
objects for the attention of a " national plenipo- 
tentiary/' " As it is possible I may think them 
of consequence enough to require a national alli- 
ance for their security, and as the particular in- 
terests of the United Company of Merchants will 
be a very material consideration, I am to demand 
of you, as their confidential servants, such lights 
as may direct my judgment, and particularly 
what are your reasons for refusing to acquiesce in 
what the Nabob thinks the only measure for the 
preservation of his country, and what appears to 
me to offer the only prospect of security, in the 
present circumstances, to the British interests in 
this part of India."* He, at the same time, 
transmitted to the Council a copy of his commis- 
sion from the King. 
Differences The Council felt that they could not communi- 

eUand'sh 01111 cate their transactions in the affairs of the Com- 
knd elt IIal " P an Y> f° r tne same reasons which had weighed 
with them in the case of Sir John Lindsay. 
They, therefore, determined to address two letters 
to the Admiral ; the one in his character of ple- 
nipotentiary, declaring why they declined putting 
him in possession of what he had called for re- 

* Military Consultations. 1771. 


garding the Company's transactions, observing at raw. 
the same time, that it was above all things their Maj>ba « 
most anxious desire to manifest their unfeigned 
allegiance and inviolable attachment to his 
Majesty's most sacred person and government ; 
but that they could not render an account of their 
conduct to any one but a constitutional authority, 
such as the Parliament of Great Britain and the 
Courts of Civil Judicature. The other letter was 
addressed to Sir Robert Harland, as commander 
of the King's ships, wherein they observed : 
" We have it now in the most authentic manner 
from you, as his Majesty's Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary, that they threaten to destroy the whole 
Carnatic with fire and sword, if certain conditions 
which they require are not submitted to ; which 
conditions are, as you express it, and as we be- 
lieve they express it, friendship with the English 
and the Nabob, and a certain assistance from 
both, against Ilyder Ally, who is their enemy. 
Words are only used to convey ideas, and the 
same words may convey different, and even con- 
trary ideas, according to the circumstances that 
attend them. Thus, if the Mahrattas were to 
propose friendship with the English and the 
Nabob, in the way that states generally propose 
treaties of friendship for mutual advantage, we 
should understand by it what the word in its 
primitive and natural sense implies, and should 
most gladly embrace it, in any way that might 





1771. be advantageous to the Company's commerce, 
productive of security to their possessions, and 
consistent with the rights and powers granted to 
them by charter ; but, when they require friend- 
ship and assistance, and denounce threats of fire 
and sword, if their demands are not complied 
with, the words change their meaning. It is no 
more friendship they propose ; it is an abject 
submission they demand to their imperious will; 
such a submission as is conformable to the usage 
of the country. The subjected powers are always 
compelled to attend the haughty conquerors with 
a certain number of troops. This is not all. It 
is not only a demand of servile submission they 
require ; they mean to render it still more humi- 
liating : it must be accompanied with the most 
flagrant breach of national faith. A formal treaty 
of peace and amity was concluded between this 
Presidency, on the part of the Company and 
Hyder Ally Cawn, in the year 1769. He hath 
committed no act that can give the least attaint 
to that engagement, at least that we know of; 
but, on the contrary, he hath granted to the Com- 
pany all the privileges and advantages of trade in 
his country, which they enjoyed before the late 
war with him. The Mahrattas add to their 
haughty demand, this specific condition — that 
the assistance to be given them by the English 
and the Nabob be expressly employed, in open 
violation of the faith of that treaty, against Hyder 



Ally Cawn. We, therefore, offer it as our opinion, 1771. 
that a submission to such a demand would be in Madras. 
the highest degree derogatory to the honour of the 
British nation, and contrary to the interests of 
the Company." They concluded by suggesting, 
that the most effectual mode of securing the Car- 
natic, and, consequently, the Nabob, against the 
Mahrattas, would be by a diversion on the Mala- 
bar coast. 

Sir Robert Harland declined to separate his 
character as Commander-in-chief from that of 
Plenipotentiary. After commenting upon the 
various points urged by the Council, in support 
of the policy which they determined to follow, 
he observed, " Your charge of an unconstitutional 
act cannot be against me : I do no more than my 
duty. But it seems to me to be directly pointed 
at the Royal Authority and the undoubted rights 
of the Crown ; and when you take upon you to 
censure a measure which is the sacred privilege 
of Majesty, and the constitutional rights of your 
Sovereign, let me tell you it is very unbecoming ; 
it is presumptuous, it is arrogant ; and I know 
not whether it may not be looked upon as crimi- 
nal in the eye of the law, as it is an undoubted 
maxim in the British Government, that the privi- 
leges of the prince are equally sacred with the 
liberty of the subject."* 

On the 28th December, he declared it to be 


* Consultations, 26th December, 1771. 



his intention to enter into a negociation with the 
Mahrattas, through Mhaderao, or any one he 
might appoint. After expressing his respect for 
the East-India Company, he stated, " I must and 
shall, upon every such important occasion, always 
make a great distinction between the real interests 
of the greatest commercial body in the world, and 
the private views and interested consideration of 
individuals." The Council indignantly repelled 
this insinuation. Sir Robert Harland persevered 
in treating with the Mahrattas, and the Council as 
firmly abstained from taking part in such a pro- 
ceeding. At this juncture, they were put in 
possession of the Court's views* regarding the line 
of conduct to be observed towards the Nabob, the 
Mahrattas, Hyder, and his Majesty's plenipoten- 
tiary, which fortified them in their determination 
to preserve neutrality as far as possible. 
1772. The Council were apprised by Sir Robert Har- 

i^tend^t^treat * and > that he had proposed to the Mahrattas, in 
wuhjtbe Man- the name of the King of England, a cessation of 

hostilities between their nation, the English, and 
the Nabob of the Carnatic, until such time as his 
Majesty's pleasure should be known : and that he 
understood the Mahrattas had acceded to the pro- 
posal, and withdrawn their troops from the fron- 

This transaction presented a singular specimen 
of diplomacy. A minister plenipotentiary from 



* Vide page 301. 


the Crown of Great Britain, writing in his Ma- i???- 
jesty's name to a Mahratta general, proposing a ******* 
cessation of hostilities between their nation, the 
English, and the Nabob, when neither of the latter 
powers had committed any act of hostility : the 
Nabob having opposed the advance of the English 
army for the protection of his borders, which the 
Mahrattas were plundering, whilst the Nabob and 
the English were calmly looking on ! 

The Council having acknowledged, in courteous 
terms, the communication from the Admiral as to 
the negociations with the Mahrattas ; there was 
reason to anticipate that here all differences would 
have terminated. Another circumstance, how- 
ever arose, which occasioned an irreparable breach 
between the two authorities. 

The Admiral had claimed many of the Com- 
pany's European soldiers, on the ground of their 
being deserters from his Majesty's service. Some 
of these men having, in the opinion of the Council, 
been improperly wrested from them, a protracted 
correspondence took place, in the course of which 
the Council strongly remonstrated against Sir 
Robert Harland countenancing the acts of his 
officers. He ultimately issued directions for their 
desisting from further claims ; but nevertheless 
characterised the conduct of the Council as " dia- 
bolically mischievous, and flagrantly unjust." 
Having declined, after a statement by the Coun- 
cil, which they considered fully refuted the charge, 




[Chap. VI. 


Sir Robert 
Harland em 
barks without 
usual honours. 

to offer any explanation or apology, the Council 
desisted from all further communication. 

The Admiral embarked from Madras on the 7th 
October, without paying the usual compliment of 
taking leave of the President as Governor of the 
Fort. The omission appeared, by a letter from 
Sir Robert Fletcher to the President,* to have 
been premeditated on the part of Sir Robert Har- 
land. He was, accordingly, neither accompanied 
by the Governor to the beach, or saluted from the 
Fort ; both which marks of honour had been ob- 
served towards Sir John Lindsay, who took formal 


* Letter from Sir Robert Fletcher to the Honourable Jonas 
Du Pre, Esq., dated Fort St. George, 7th October 1773 : 

" Dear Sir ; — When I took leave of the admiral, the 5th in- 
stant, I told him that, by a conversation I had had with you, I 
understood you was then unacquainted with the time of his in- 
tended departure, and that you mentioned to me his having 
been at your Garden-house to ask Mrs Du Pre's commands for 
Bombay, without paying you the usual compliment,, or giving 
you any intimation of his departure. The admiral said, he 
could pay no such compliment to any servant of the Company, 
and that his visit was to Mrs. Du Pre. I replied, I was sorry 
for such unhappy misunderstanding ; that I knew the Governor 
meant to attend him to the surf and pay him every due compli- 
ment, if he would but observe the usual forms of communica- 
tion with him ; but if he did not, I feared it would interfere 
with the honours intended to be shewn him at parting. He 
answered, ' Mr. Du Pre is the best judge of that.' 

" I am, &c. 
(Signed) " Rob. Fletcher." 

«' P.S. The above is, perhaps, not word for word my con- 
versation with the admiral, but I am sure it is strictly the sense 
and meaning of it." 


leave of the President, notwithstanding the dirTe- 1772. 
rences between them had been greater than those Madras. 
with Sir Robert Harland. 

The Council remarked, " that ceremonies are 
trifles in private life, and merely as they touch 
the individual ; but opinion and usage have made 
public honours necessary to public characters, 
and have proportioned those honours to the 
character. In that light, they become important ; 
and supinely to receive an intended slight de- 
grades the office and invites further indignity." 
Although the honour was withheld from the in- 
dividual, the Council gave strict orders that the 
moment the squadron got under weigh, a salute of 
fifteen guns should be fired from the Fort ; but the 
squadron remained at anchor during the whole of 
the day, and sailed in the night. 

Thus terminated a mission, which was originally 
based upon erroneous principles, and in its pro- 
gress produced embarrassments and differences, 
little calculated to promote either the public cha- 
racter or interests. 

The Council drew the attention of the Court to Relations with 
the position in which they stood towards the Nabob Tanjore. 
and the Rajah of Tanjore, and pointed out the 
relation of those two powers to each other. 

The province of Tanjore was so situated, that 
the Carnatic would always be a natural barrier to 
it against invaders by land ; and it was, therefore 
reasonable that it should always bear a part of 



1772. the charge of repelling such invaders. The tri- 
]\?ai>ras. k ute Xanjore paid to the Carnatic, in peace as 
well as war, was considered only as an acknow- 
ledgement of superiority ; what quota of troops or 
pecuniary aid it should supply appeared to have 
been arbitary, or rather what the government of 
the Carnatic could compel, Tanjore having re- 
fused both, when its ruler felt that he had power 
to support such refusal. The Council observed, 
" this is by no means peculiar to these two states ; 
the same principle prevails throughout Hin- 

The principle was that of power ; and, though 
it had long prevailed, it became more generally 
felt after the invasion of Nadir Shah, and the 
assumption of power by the various Omrahs, 
whose influence increased as that of the Mogul 
was diminished. The Council stated, that want 
of means, — the uncertainty of the designs of the 
Nizam, the Mahrattas, and Hyder, — and the pro 
visions of the treaty in which the Rajah of Tan- 
jore was included, — all combined against the ex- 
ercise of coercive measures, in 1770, for the pur- 
pose of supporting the claim against him for the 
defence of his country, and for the payment to 
the Nabob of the peshcush, which the Company 
had guaranteed. 

The subsequent operations against Tanjore were 
occasioned by the Rajah's indifference towards 
the Nabob, and his prosecuting hostilities against 



the Polygars, over whose country Mahomed Ally l772 - 
claimed jurisdiction. The Tanjoreans were greatly Madras 
exasperated against the Nabob, being impressed 
with a conviction that he intended to possess 
himself of the whole of their country, on the first 
favourable opportunity. It was the opinion of the 
Council, that this impression would lead the 
Rajah to join any power, should disturbances 
arise in the Carnatic, which would enable him to 
throw off the yoke of the Nabob. They -consi- 
dered, that the Company's guarantee of the en- 
gagement of Tanjore with the Nabob, had been 
cancelled by the late proceedings under Omdut- 
ul-Omrah, and that the Rajah would thus be left 
at the mercy of Mahomed Ally; they, there- 
fore, gave it as their decided opinion, that Tanjore 
ought to be taken, openly and avowedly, under 
the Company's protection ; or that the country 
should be conquered and wholly subdued by 

These views of the Council reached the Court Parliamentary 

i i p o i mi x* , • inquiry con- 

in the month ot September. The Parliamentary tempiated. 
inquiry, then in progress, into the Company's 
affairs, precluded the Directors from giving any 
definite instructions on the important advices 
received from India. They wrote, on the 11th 
December, 1772 : — " In our former letters of 
this season, you have been acquainted with 


* Letter, 28th February 1772. 



[Chap. VI. 


Succession to 

Council resolve 
on operations 
against Poly- 

the critical situation of the Company's affairs, 
and by our ship Mercury, we enclosed for your 
perusal the King's speech at the opening of the 
present session. In consequence thereof, Com- 
mittees have been appointed to inquire into the 
state and condition of the Company's affairs, both 
at home and abroad. The measures which may 
be pursued, in consequence of their reports to the 
two Houses of Parliament, indispensably occasion 
such particular and constant attention on our part, 
as at present to deprive us of the opportunity of 
entering into a reply at large to your advices now 
before us, and, therefore, our remarks and direc- 
tions thereon are necessarily suspended, until the 
departure of the latter ships of this season." 

Opparrow, who had held the zemindary of 
Nozeed jointly with his brother Narrain Row, 
having died without issue, the zemindary naturally 
devolved on the surviving brother. The Council, 
however, thought it necessary that all the Zemin- 
dars should clearly understand, the Company as- 
serted the right of judging and determining the 
succession. The Resident was ordered to make 
inquiry, for form's sake ; after which Narrain 
Row was put into possession. 

The Council having determined, in communi- 
cation with the Nabob, to commence operations 
for the purpose of reducing the Marawar and 
Nalcooty Polygars, a force of one hundred and 
twenty artillery, four hundred European infantry, 



three battalions of sepoys, and six battering can- 1772. 
non, to be augmented by some of the Nabob's Madras - 
cavalry, and two of his battalions of sepoys, 
marched from Trichinopoly, the 12th of May, 
accompanied by Omdut-ul-Omrah, who had been 
deputed by his father to superintend the expe- 
dition. He arrived before the capital of the 
Marawar Polygar, on the 28th May. The bat- 
teries opened against it on the morning of the 
2d June, and the fort was taken by assault in 
the evening, the Marawar Polygar, his mother, 
and the Dewan, being captured in the place. 

Trepanavam, one hundred and fifteen miles east 
of Madura, belonging to the Nalcooty Polygar, 
was taken by assault, under the direction of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Bonjour, on the 24th of May. 
The Polygar was not reduced until the end of 
June, after which the troops were ordered to their 
respective stations. 

The Rajah of Travancore declined compliance conduct of the 
with the requisition of the Nabob of the Carnatic ^ r £ fTra " 
for aid in the operations against the refractory 
Polygars, on the ground that he was apprehensive 
Hyder would attack the Travancore country; 
Hyder being applied to, disavowed having even 
contemplated such a step. He declared that the 
Travancore country was in no shape dependent 
upon him, and that he had no demands whatever 
upon the Rajah. Since peace had been conclud- 
ed between Hyder and the Mahrattas, the atten- 

vol. i. y tion 






Sir Robert 
Fletcher suc- 
ceeds General 
Smith in com- 
mand of army. 

tion of the former had been directed to recruiting 
his army, and restoring the affairs of his own 
country. The Council remarked, " these mea- 
sures were necessary, merely on a defensive plan ; 
but mere defence and inactivity cannot long be 
expected from his genius." 

Brigadier General Smith, having returned to 
the Presidency, resigned the command of the 
army in the month of August. The post devolved 
upon Sir Robert Fletcher, who, in accordance 
with the Court's order of April 1771, was ad- 
mitted to a seat in the Council and Select Com- 
mittee, on the 24th of August. 

Various differences as to military arrangements 
arose between Sir Robert Fletcher, the President, 
and a majority of the Council. They were car- 
ried on with so much personal feeling, as not only 
to impede the progress of public business, but to 
create apprehensions that serious results might be 
produced, unless decided measures were taken to 
put an end to the proceedings. 

A question having arisen on the powers of the 

Differences be- ^ . , , r ,, . .... 

tween Council President, as commander ol the garrison, in which 
the conduct of Sir Robert Fletcher formed matter 
of discussion, a decided majority of the Council 
were of opinion that he should withdraw. It was 
subsequently proposed, for the general welfare of 
the service, that Sir Robert Fletcher's absence 
from Council was essential to the good conduct of 
the public business. A resolution was passed by a 



and Sir Robert 


majority of seven to two in the Council, on the 1773. 
12th January, that he should be ordered to repair MAmiAi 
to Trichinopoly, to take the command of that 
fortress, where his services could be most use- 
fully employed for the Company's interests. On 
the following day, Sir Robert Fletcher addressed 
the President, stating that, as he considered the 
proceeding contrary to the order and intentions 
of the Court, and equal to a dismission of the 
service, he felt that the duty he owed to the pub- 
lic obliged him to make application for a passage 
and accommodation in the first ship for England, 
that he might be enabled to give his attendance 
in Parliament.* 

On the 14th, Sir Robert Fletcher was desired 
to proceed to Trichinopoly, and informed that, on 
the same day, a Council would be summoned, 
when his letter would be considered. He replied 
by protesting, as a member of the government 
and of the legislature, against the conduct of the 
President, which he deemed contrary to law and 
to the privilege to which he was entitled. The 


* However strange it may appear at the present day, that 
Members of the House of Commons should at any time have re- 
tained their seats, while serving in so distant a quarter of the 
globe as India, yet the instance in question, as well as that of 
Mr. Vansittart, in 1769 (vide note, page 191), are in point. 
The Act of the 10th Geo. IV., cap. 62, disqualifies persons 
holding the station of Governor or Deputy Governor in India, 
from a seat in Parliament. — Query, does it exclude inferior 
functionaries ? 



1773. Council informed him, that the proceeding was 
not intended as a dismission, but an appointment 
to a station, where his services might be most use- 
fully employed. They repeated and enforced the 
same, and informed him that, when he should have 
complied therewith, and " have given the whole 
military establishment that example of obedience 
and attention which we have a right to expect, we 
shall give all due consideration to whatever you 
may have to represent." He reached Trichino- 
poly, and received charge of the fortress on the 
26th January. 

The Council met on the 29th, and came to a 
resolution, declaring that " out of unfeigned re- 
spect and veneration for the Honourable House of 
sir Robert Commons and their privileges, Sir Robert Flet- 

Fletclier's plea , l ° 

(rf privilege of cher, in consequence of his plea of privilege as a 
member of parliament, is, for so much as depends 
on this Board, at full and free liberty to return to 
his duty in Parliament, whenever and by whatever 
conveyance he shall think proper ; and that this 
Board do further declare Sir Robert Fletcher 
henceforth free and exonerated of and from all 
obligation to serve the Company in any capacity 
under this Presidency, that so there may not re- 
main any restraint, or colour of restraint upon, or 
impediment to, his proceeding to his duty in Par- 
liament, agreeable to his claim." 

Brigadier General Smith consented, at the 
earnest request of the Council, although on the 



eve of departure for England, to resume the com- 1773. 
mand, and communicated the same to the Council, 
on the 29th January, in the following terms : "I 
assure you that no motive whatever could have in- 
duced me to enter into a public station again ; but, 
being thus called upon by you, the duty I cheer- 
fully acknowledge to my employers, and a very 
grateful sense of the advantages I have derived 
from their service, are obligations which outweigh 
with me every other consideration, and afford me 
this opportunity of once more shewing that attach- 
ment I have always professed for our honourable 
masters." General Smith's appointment being- 
announced in orders, he took his seat as a member 
of the Council, on the 30th. Sir Robert Fletcher, 
having received a copy of the order on the 2d 
of February, wrote to the Council from Trichino- 
poly, that he had given over the command to the 
senior officer, and should proceed to the Presi- 

Mr. Du Pre* resigned the government on the 
31st January, and was succeeded by Mr. Wynch. 

Sir Robert Fletcher was to proceed to England sir Robert 
on board the Triton, with Capt. the Hon. Fullar- ceeds toEug 
ton Elphinstone. Further correspondence ensued, land ' 
in which Sir Robert Fletcher animadverted upon 
the state of the army. To which General Smith 
fully and satisfactorily replied. He then demand- 
ed copies of such allegations as might be sent 
home regarding him, or access to the records ; 



1773. intimating, that the Council would refuse the 
Madras. game at ^^ p er ii # The Council did not see fit 

to comply with either of the requests, and he em- 
barked in the Triton, which was despatched on 
the 15th March. The subject was brought under 
the consideration of the Court of Directors ; whose 
decision, at the same time that it condemned the 
conduct of Sir Robert Fletcher, regarding the au- 
thority of the Governor as commandant of the fort, 
restored him to the command of the army when- 
ever Brigadier General Smith should resign. 

The conduct of the Rajah of Tanjore led to 
the Council unanimously agreeing to meet the re- 
quisition of the Nabob of the Carnatic for troops, 
to enable him to subdue his tributary. The force 
assembled at Trichinopoly, under the command of 
General Smith. They arrived before the capital 
of Tanjore on the 6th of August. On the 20th, the 
army broke ground, and on the 17th of September 
the place was carried by assault, with an incon- 
siderable loss, the Rajah and his family being 
prisoners to the Nabob's two sons, who accom- 
panied the expedition. At the commencement of 
these operations, intelligence was received by the 
Nabob, that the Dutch were aiding the Rajah with 
stores from Negapatam. He accordingly des- 
patched a vakeel, with a remonstrance. To give 
weight to this proceeding, Sir Robert Harland 
ordered two ships of war to accompany the vakeel. 
The Dutch disavowed, in the most submissive 



manner, having rendered any aid to the Rajah of l773 - 


Tanjore. Suspicions still existed that such was 
not the fact ; they were shortly confirmed by the 
Dutch possessing themselves of the sea-port of 
Nagore, and also of some valuable districts in the 
Tanjore country, on the plea that they had pur- 
chased them of the Rajah. As a tributary of the 
Nabob, he had no right to alienate these posses- 
sions ; but it was not until the appearance of the 
Nabob's troops, under the command of his son, 
followed at some distance by General Smith, that 
the Dutch guards quitted Nagore and retired to 
Negapatam. Had the Council hesitated in aiding 
the Nabob to reduce Tanjore, and permitted the 
Rajah to introduce foreign troops into the centre 
of his country, and to make grants of districts and 
sea- ports to an European power, the results might 
have seriously affected the English interests on 
the coast. 

The position of Hyder and the Mahrattas, at w?*. 
the commencement of this year, threatened a cwnatic! 116 
descent on the Carnatic, and induced the Council, 
in conjunction with the Nabob, to take precau- 
tions for its defence. The jealousy of the Nabob, 
his vacillating conduct towards the native powers, 
the declared poverty of his treasury, his desire of 
acting independently of the Council, and his se- 
cret intrigues, rendered the task of guiding his 
affairs one of no easy accomplishment ; still it was 
the determination of the Council to preserve, as 




[Chap. VI. 



Mahrattas de- 
feat Hyder. 

far as possible, the tranquillity of the Carnatic, 
and to avoid anything tending to involve them in 
dissensions either with Hyder or the Mahrattas. 

The President of Bombay, Mr. Hodges, died at 
Victoria, on the 23d February, and was succeeded 
by Mr. Hornby. 

On the 7th March, the Mahrattas obtained a 
complete victory over Hyder, near Seringapatam, 
obliging him to retire within that fortress. He 
applied to the Council for aid, which they were 
utterly unable to afford him, either in men or 
money, but offered to supply him with five hun- 
dred muskets and four twenty-pound guns. 

The Mahrattas, being in possession of the 
greater part of Mysore, prevented Hyder from 
raising troops, or drawing the necessary supplies 
for them. In the month of October, he addressed 
the President, representing that the enemy, not- 
withstanding his readiness to pay them their just 
chout, were determined to make a conquest of his 
dominions, and then to attack the Nabob of Arcot 
and the Carnatic ; he, therefore, called upon the 
Council, in the name of the Company, who were 
equally interested with him in checking the pro- 
gress of the Mahrattas, to join in measures for 
that object. The Council were disposed to con- 
sent, under all circumstances, provided Hyder 
assigned over the forts and districts of Mangalore 
and Pier Gur, and deposited five lacs of pagodas 



towards the expenses, that he should be informed lTri. 
five hundred Europeans and one thousand two 
hundred sepoys would be sent to his assistance. 
An intimation of this intention was notified to the 
Council at Madras. 

Hyder applied for a specific force of one thou- 
sand Europeans, and four thousand sepoys, to be 
employed in making a diversion by an attack on 
Bassein and Salsette, and to march inland, in 
order to draw off the Mahrattas from his country. 
The Council felt no disposition to concur in this 
proposition, it being evidently the desire of Hyder 
to make them principals in the war. The receipt, 
at this moment, through the Council at Madras, 
of the Court's views,* determined them to close 
all further treaty. Hyder's fortune triumphed 
over his danger : he obtained a tolerable peace, 
without a friend or ally ; but the coolness of the 
Madras Government alienated his feelings, and 
indisposed him towards the English power. 

During the differences between the Mahrattas conquests of 
and the Nizam, Hyder had made the entire con- y er * 
quest of the dominions of the Zamorin and the 
King of Cotiote ; he also preferred a complaint to 
the Resident at Tellicherry, that some of the 
principal people of Cotiote had been harboured 
in the Company's districts. The Prince of Che- 
rika paid a visit to the Chief at Tellicherry, by 


* Vide page 301. 


1771. whom he was interrogated regarding his late cor- 
Bombav. respondence with Hyder. He admitted, with 

evident confusion, that he had received several 
letters from the Nabob, the purport of which he 
did not before choose to disclose, but said that, 
on his return, he would send the originals for in- 
spection. Instead of fulfilling his promise, he 
assembled two hundred natives, and immediately 
went over to the Cotiote country, and joined 
Hyder's camp, which was about twelve leagues 
from Tellicherry. 
sir Robert Sir Robert Harland having arrived at Bombay, 

rives at Bom- produced his powers to the Council. They re- 
hS powers! 61 tS marked, that he appeared to think he was autho- 
rized to enter into any treaty, and to make any 
terms on behalf of the Company, with any princes 
or powers in India that he might see fit. " Were 
such a power granted, it would be truly alarm- 
ing ; but, as we cannot believe any such power 
was intended by the Crown, or that we are em- 
powered or authorized to submit our demand on 
the Mahrattas, or any other power, we declined 
to do so, until we should hear from you on the 

1772. The Nabob of Broach had, at his own instance, 
in the month of July 1771, repaired to Bombay, 
and entered into a treaty with the Company, on 
the 30th November, by which they were permitted 
to erect a factory there. The Nabob was not to 
assist .the enemies of the English, but to aid the 

Company ; 


Company ; nor was he to engage in war without 1772. 
their consent ; but in hostilities begun in commu- BoMBAY - 
nication with the Council, they were to aid him, 
on his paying a certain stipulated rate for each 
man, and four lacs in full for all demands on the 
part of the Company. A firm friendship was to 
subsist between the Councils of Surat and Bom- 
bay. The Nabob having, under various pretences, 
evaded from time to time the performance of any 
of the articles of the treaty, the Council recalled 
Mr. Morley, their Resident at Broach. At the 
earnest entreaty of the Nabob, he was sent back ; 
but his reception, added to the continued extraor- 
dinary conduct of the Nabob, in refusing to ob- 
serve the treaty, led the majority of the Council 
to concur in sending an expedition to enforce the 
observance of its provisions. The troops and operations 
vessels left Bombay on the 2d November, under 
the command of Brigadier-General Wedderburn, 
and Mr Watson, the Superintendent of the 
Marine. The general, reconnoitering too near 
the works, was killed on the 14th. On the 16th, 
the batteries opened against it, and on the 18th, 
it was taken by storm. Five officers and one 
cadet were killed ; two captains and four lieute- 
nants wounded. The revenues were stated to 
amount to seven lacs ; half of which was claimed 
by Futty Sing Guicowar, with whom an agree- 
ment was entered into on the 12th January, by 
which it was declared that the town of Broach, 



1773. lately belonging to Mahazuz Cawn Nabob, having 
Bombay. been conquered by the East-India Company, 
every thing should remain on the footing it was 
at the time of the conquest, the English and 
Futty Sing each receiving a share of the reve- 

Mr. Mostyn had been especially designated by 
the Court for the station of Resident at Poonah, 
in order to acquire, upon safe and honourable 
terms, such privileges and possessions as would 
not only be beneficial to the Company's commerce, 
but also contribute to the security of their settle- 
ments on the coast of Malabar. 

The acquisition of Salsette, Bassein, and Ca- 
ranja, were the principal objects contemplated by 
the Court, and strongly pressed upon the attention 
of the Council, f who, in negociation with Mhade- 
rao, were authorized to offer in exchange what 
they might deem an equivalent for such a cession. 
The Council, in the month of February, advised 
the Court that there was little prospect, at that 
period, of the object being accomplished. 
Transactions at Mhaderao died in November 1772, and was 
succeeded by his brother, Narrain Rao. Janojee, 
the Mahratta chieftain in Berar, died about the 
same time. Narrain Rao was murdered in his 
palace at Poonah, on the 20th August, in the 
following year, by the partizans of his uncle, Ra- 


* Vide Printed Treaties. f Vide page 210. 



gobah,* who was immediately proclaimed through- 1773. 
out the city, and succeeded with little opposition. Bombay. 
Ragobah proceeded forthwith to Sattarah, for the 
purpose of receiving the smyaw\ from the Rajah. 
Moodajee Bhonslah was the party whose influ- 
ence he had most to apprehend. Ragobah had 
written to him to attend with five thousand men : 
notwithstanding this requisition, he proceeded 
with his troops towards Poonah, and was joined 
by some other chiefs, who enabled him to assemble 
a force of nearly 80,000 men. This movement 
created great suspicion on the part of Ragobah, 
whose force amounted only to about 60,000, and 
the fidelity of these was doubtful. He was, how- 
ever, ultimately joined by Moodajee. The united 
force proceeded against the Nizam, who had taken 
the field with a considerable army. An engage- 
ment ensued, in which the Nizam had the advan- 
tage ; but a treaty followed, to the benefit of Ra- 
gobah, who then meditated an attack on the Car- 
natic, in order to induce the Nabob to pay him a 
large amount of chout, and likewise to explain his 
conduct in having made war against the Rajah of 
Tanjore. Ragobah was deterred from carrying 
his intentions into execution, by the proceedings 
of the ministerial party at Poonah, who were dis- 
satisfied with his government, and the means by 


* Properly Ragonant Rao, but commonly called and known 
as Rogobah, which designation is used. 

t Vide page 8. 


1773. which he had obtained it. They availed them- 
BdMBAY. se i ves f hi s distance to declare in favour of the 
widow of Narrain Rao. These measures obliged 
him to retrace his steps, from the confines of the 
Carnatic to the heart of his own government. 
The two parties met — Ragobah gained a decisive 
victory over the forces of the ministry ; their gene- 
ral was taken prisoner, and died of his wounds. 
Notwithstanding Ragobah's success, his position 
was very precarious ; having little money, enter- 
taining doubts as to the fidelity of his troops, and 
being constrained to levy contributions, in his 
marches through the country, in order to support 
his army, while the remains of the ministerial 
force was recruited from that of Moodajee, who 
had likewise joined the Nizam. 

At this juncture, the country round Broach was 
thrown into a state of disorder, by Ragobah having 
supported Govind Rao, in opposition to Futty 
Sing, who had for some time been at the head 
of the Guicowar government ; but being defeated 
in an engagement with his brother, he was dis- 
possessed of all the country except Baroda, the 
capital, the open country remaining under Govind 

The determination of the Government of Bom- 
bay to support Ragobah, involved the Company 
in hostilities with the Mahrattas. The opposition 
which he met with in his efforts to re-establish his 





power at Poonah, led to his making proposals 1773. 
to the Council at Bombay for the assistance of a 
body of the Company's troops. His terms fell 
short of those required by the Council, which 
included a cession of Salsette and Bassein ; Rago- 
bah being averse to parting with either of those 




Had the members of the Special Commission, 
Attention of nominated in 1769 * for the purpose of supervising 
directed to the the whole of the Company's affairs, reached India, 
they would have operated as a check on the ex- 
tensive powers of control and interference assumed 
by the naval officers of the crown towards the 
several governments. The effects caused by their 
proceeding rendered the necessity still more ap- 
parent for introducing a revised system of admi- 
nistration, as regarded both the Home and Foreign 
affairs. Enactments had been passed to regulate 
the declaration of a dividend, and the exercise of 
the ballot by the proprietors : a lengthened and 
rigid scrutiny had been substituted into the gene- 
ral state of the Company, and doubts had been 
raised on the question of right in the territorial 
possessions ; but the Company were still unfettered 
in the exercise of all powers of government, and 
were at full liberty to follow their own views, 
whether relating to the dismemberment of a king- 
dom, the deposition of a sovereign, or the provi- 

* Fide page 272. 


sion of an investment. But although possessing 1772. 
this power, they had no means of effectually en- 
forcing obedience to their orders, on the part of 
their servants, who were represented " to have 
made enormous fortunes at the expense of their 
masters, and to have hazarded by their conduct 
the total loss of their valuable possessions." 

From the period of hostilities commencing with 
the French, followed by those with the native 
powers, the greatest embarrassment was occa- 
sioned by each of the three presidencies acting 
independently of the other. There was no de- 
fined superior authority to direct affairs, or to en- 
sure unity of object, or co-operation in action. 

This state of things led to the following passage 
in the speech from the throne, at the opening of 
the session in January 1772. " The concerns of 
this country are so various and extensive as to re- 
quire the most vigilant and active attention ; and 
some of them, as well from remoteness of place 
as from other circumstances, are so peculiarly 
liable to abuse, and exposed to danger, that the 
interposition of the Legislature for their protec- 
tion may become necessary." 

The financial means of the Company had been Financial em. 
materially affected by the measures of their the Company, 
servants. The subsequent operation against the 
Mogul and the Vizier — the war in the Carnatic, 
during which Hyder committed such extensive 
ravages — the reduction of the refractory Polygars, 

vol. 1. z and 


1772. an( j the incursions of the enemy on the coast of 
Malabar, not only absorbed the revenues, but 
caused a suspension of the investment upon the 
out-turn, on which the Directors relied to meet 
the heavy demand that pressed upon them, in the 
large amount of bills drawn from India, in addition 
to the charge occasioned by the necessary supply 
of troops and stores for service. Their only resource 
for relief was an application to the minister. Little 
encouragement was, however, held out of pecu- 
niary aid from that quarter. 

Disappointment had been created on the part 

of the public by the non-payment of the 

£400,000, under the agreement of 1769.* The 

affairs of the Company had become the general 

Attacks on the subject of discussion and animadversion. Pam- 

Company and J 

on Lord ciive. phlets issued from the press, reflecting in strong 
terms of severity on the Company, and on the 
conduct of their servants. Virulent attacks were 
levelled against the character of Lord Clive, whose 
administration of the government of Bengal, in 
1765, had unjustly caused him many enemies. 
The circumstances under which his lordship had 
entered upon that arduous trust were forgotten, 
whilst the most distorted views were given of his 
measures. Lord Clive was not a recognized ser- 
vant of the state : he derived no authority from 
law : he was placed over a presidency, divided, 
head-strong, and licentious — the Treasury was 


* Vide page 271. 


without money, and the service without subordi- 1772. 
nation, discipline, or public spirit:* the subordinate 
functionaries being aware that they were only 
amenable to punishment within the precincts of the 
Mahratta ditch. Such a state of things was alone 
to be met and overcome by the firm and resolute 
line of conduct which his lordship adopted. The 
effect on the interests of the individuals who suf- 
fered under the well-merited rebuke their conduct 
had drawn upon them, led to the strong opposition 
evinced at the time towards his lordship, a feeling 
fomented by some of the leading members of 
the Direction, who were personally indisposed 
towards him. 

The Chairman of the Court, who was likewise 
a Member of the House of Commons, had ob- 
tained leave to bring in a bill for the better ad- 
ministration of justice in India, and for control- 
ling the Company's servants. The Proprietors 
having rejected a proposition for conferring extra- 
ordinary powers on Mr. Hastings, who had been 
appointed to succeed to the Government in Ben- 
gal ; the Directors resolved upon sending out 
another Superintending Commission for the pur- Parliament 

1 , restrain Com- 

pose of correcting abuses, and applying such panyfrom 

remedies as might place their affairs in a satis- another su- 

c t • mi i *n 1 • 11 1 perintending 

factory condition. Ine bill submitted by the commission. 


* The description given by his Lordship's successor. Vide 
page 177. 

z 2 


1772. Deputy-Chairman was lost on its second reading, 

Bengal. ^he House determining to appoint two Parli- 

Appointtwo amentary Committees to inquire into the affairs 

Committees of *L 

inquiry. of the Company ; the one a secret, the other a 

select committee. 

The Secret Committee was to inquire into the 
state of the Company. They purposely made an 
early report, which led to an act restraining the 
Court from sending out the proposed Superin- 
tending Commission. Eight other reports were 
presented by the Committee, in which a full re- 
view was taken of the debts, credits, and effects 
of the Company ; their profits from commerce, 
and their territorial acquisitions ; the manage- 
ment of their affairs abroad and at home, the 
source of their revenues, the extent of bills drawn 
upon them from India, and the charges of their 
several settlements. 

The Select Committee was to inquire into "the 
nature, state, and condition of the East-India 

The speech of Colonel Burgoyne, in April, 
1772, when he moved the appointment of the 
Committee, of which he was chosen Chairman, 
sufficiently indicated the spirit in which the pro- 
ceedings would be followed up. They branched 
out into an inquiry on points connected with the 
conduct of Lord Clive, and the services which his 
Lordship rendered to the Company in Bengal, in 
the year 1757. Thirty years had passed away 



since his Lordship first reached India. He had 1772. 
on four several occasions received the thanks of Bekgal - 
the Court of Directors; he had been strongly 
urged to continue in the government of Bengal, 
and five years had elapsed since he finally quitted 
that country with the highest tokens of regard 
and esteem from those who succeeded him in the 
government, as well as from the Company at 
home. His Lordship's conduct in transactions in 
which he had been engaged, fifteen years before, 
was now arraigned at the bar of Parliament with 
a spirit of vituperation from which it was felt 
that his merits and services might well have 
shielded him. The report of the Committee was 
made on the 26th of May. It was observed by 
one of the members of the Committee, that it was 
his wish the inquiry should have been directed 
" not to persons but to things," but his voice had 
been over-ruled. Another described the proceed- 
ings as founded on envy and illiberal principles — 
as narrow — pointing at individuals, and neglect- 
ing the real and only object, "which should have 
been the provision of regulations for the future 

It was at this juncture that Mr. Warren Hastings Mr. Warren 

r-n Hastings 

succeeded to the governmentof Bengal, on the retire- succeeds to th< 
mentof Mr. Cartier, in the month of April, 1772. 
The earlier history of Mr. Hastings, with the 
statement of his services before he was placed in 


Mr. Warren 


1772. the prominent station of a Member of Council in 
the Government abroad, more properly belongs 
Hastings. "" to the biographer. It is to be hoped that some 
one competent to do justice to the life of this ex- 
traordinary man, who for so long a period filled 
the public eye, will take up the subject. There 
must be abundant materials, both public and pri- 
vate, to furnish matter for a work which, in 
variety of incident and depth of interest, cannot 
be surpassed. A brief reference will be made to 
his original appointment, and to his services pre- 
viously to his return to India in 17G9. 

Mr. Hastings, the son of the Rev. Penniston 
Hastings, was baptized at Churchill, in the 
county of Oxford, on the 15th December, 1732, 
and proceeded to Bengal as a Writer, on the 29th 
November, 1749, being then in his seventeenth 
year. He reached Calcutta in the autumn of the 
following year, and was attached as an assistant 
in the Secretary's office. In 1755 he appears to 
have been appointed one of the Council for ma- 
naging the affairs of the factory at Cossimbuzar, 
where the ability which he manifested in dis- 
charging the duties of his office, gained for him 
the confidence of the Government. In 1756, the 
obstacles occasioned by the conduct of the Nabob 
to the progress of the Company's affairs, led to 
his being deputed, with one of his colleagues, to 
demand a private audience for the purpose of de- 
claring, that unless measures were adopted to 



check the system of plunder pursued by his 1772. 
ministers, to gratify their avarice, on the Com- Bengal - 
pany's tenants, they should withdraw from the 
province. As there was reason to believe that 
some immediate change would take place in the 
native government, Mr. Hastings was authorized 
to expend 20,000 rupees amongst the servants of 
the Durbar in securing the interests of the Com- 
pany. Mr. Hastings was one among a number of 
the Company's servants who stood forward at that 
crisis and accepted a military commission, which, 
it appears, he resigned, together with Messrs. 
Scrafton, Cartier, and Rider, in April 1757, when 
the troubles had terminated. In the following- 
year he was at Moraudbaug, and entrusted with 
arrangements connected with the settlement of 
the Nabob's revenues and the claims of the Com- 
pany. His conduct was highly approved by the 
Council at Calcutta, and a native agent, named 
Cossinaut, was sent up to aid him in the manage- 
ment of the responsible duties committed to him. 
Cossinaut was not to settle any thing finally, but 
through means of Mr. Hastings, and with his en- 
tire approbation. Throughout the year 1759 he 
appears to have encountered considerable diffi- 
culty in settling the Company's claims on the 
Nabob, and in attempting to satisfy a spirit of 
discontent which Jaffier Cawn manifested. As 
his pecuniary arrangements with the Durbar were 
considerable, he rendered full and explicit ac- 


1772. counts of the monies which passed through his 
Bengal. hands, to the satisfaction of the government. 

At the close of 1759 he was relieved from the 
duties connected with the factory, and nominated 
Resident at Moraudbaug, and agent for the Com- 
pany at the Nabob's Durbar ; and so onerous 
were his duties, that the Government nominated 
an assistant who was cognisant with the native 
language, in which Mr. Hastings had acquired 
great proficiency : the officer was unfortunately 
drowned in his way up to join the Resident. 
In 1760, Mr. Hastings ineffectually endea- 
voured to obtain payment from the Nabob of two 
lacs and a half, which had been lent to him 
on account of the Company. In the month of 
November he was with the President, when ar- 
rangements were made with Meer Cossim, who 
was placed on the musnud, when Jaffier Cawm 
was again deposed.* In 1761 he was appointed 
to inquire into the conduct of Nundcomar, who 
forms so prominent a character in the course of 
subsequent events. That native had been falsely 
alleging, that the Company's Government were 
indisposed towards the Rajah of Burdwan ; he 
had also instigated Roydullub to a similar at- 
tempt. The inquiry terminated in Nundcomar 
being confined a prisoner to his house as a dan- 
gerous character. 

In December 1761, Mr. Hastings appears to 


* Vide page 77. 


have taken his seat as a Member of the Select l ™, 
Committee at Calcutta. In March 1762 he was Bengal * 
deputed to visit the Nabob, with the view of 
settling the various points of dispute which had 
arisen from the unjustifiable conduct of the Com- 
pany's servants in the prosecution of private trade, 
and in their behaviour towards the Nabob. It 
was on that occasion that the majority of the 
Council, in entire opposition to the President, 
issued orders to Mr. Hastings to demand a pre- 
sent of twenty lacs from the Nabob, which, they 
asserted, he had promised them on being placed 
upon the musnud. The Nabob indignantly re- 
jected the demand, at which the Directors ex- 
pressed their entire satisfaction. After various 
other services as a Member of the Select Com- 
mittee, Mr. Hastings embarked for Europe in the 
ship Medway, in February 1765, his place as a 
Member of Council being filled by Mr. Gray, 
who was called from Malda for that purpose. 

In consideration of his acknowledged talents 
and qualifications, the Court of Directors, on the 
20th December, 1768, unanimously appointed him 
a member of Council at Fort St. George. It was 
announced to that government in the following 
terms: — " Mr. Warren Hastings, a gentleman who 
has served us many years upon the Bengal esta- 
blishment with great ability and unblemished cha- 
racter, offering himself again to be employed in 
our service, we have, from a consideration of his 



1772 « just merits and general knowledge of the Com- 
ENGAL * pay's affairs, been induced to appoint him one of 
the members of our Council at your Presidency, 
and to station him next to Mr. Du PreV' who had 
been nominated to succeed to the government on 
the 31st January, 1770 — Mr. Hastings being se- 
lected for his successor. 
Appointed to In April, 1771, the Court, having had under 

Bengal Coun- . . 

di,withsucces- consideration the condition of the Company's 

sion to Chair. , . . _ , . r . 

commerce, and the general aspect of their affairs, 
in Bengal, resolved to appoint Mr. Hastings se- 
cond member of Council at Calcutta, with suc- 
cession as President and Governor of Bengal, 
whither he was to proceed from Madras with 
the least possible delay.* He reached Calcutta 
on the 17th February, 1772, when he took his seat 
at the Board, and, on the 13th April following, 
assumed charge of the government, 
court's orders One of the first measures which engaged his 

as to Mahomed . . 

RezaKhan. attention arose out of the Courts instructions of 
August, 1771, which he received only ten days 
after his accession to the chair. They related to 
Mahomed Reza Khan, whose name was asso- 
ciated with the early revenue administration of 
Bengal, and became familiar to the English rea- 
der in connexion with the seventeenth charge on 
the celebrated impeachment of Mr. Hastings. 
Mahomed Reza Khan held the Chukla| of 


* Letter to Madras, 10th April, 1771. 

f An assemblage of the smaller divisions of a province. 


Dacca in 1762, of the Nabob Meer Jaffier, at a 177-2. 
rent of between thirty-eight and thirty-nine lacs Bengal - 
per annum. It was represented to the Court of 
Directors, that he had been considerably in arrear 
to the Nabob, who, it was alleged, had, by a sub- 
sequent agreement, consented to an abatement in 
the rent, from thirty-eight to twenty-seven lacs 
per annum. No authority in support of this alle- 
gation could be traced beyond the assertion of 
Mahomed Reza Khan. The Nabob was said to 
have complained of his carelessness, and to have 
strongly objected to his continuance in the 
Chukla; but at the entreaty of Mr. Spencer, then 
President, Meer Jaffier not only retained him, but 
removed him to Moorshedabad, where he exer- 
cised supreme power, as well over the Nabob him- 
self as over all his ministers. The Nabob died, 
in February, 1765, and was succeeded by his 
son, Nijim-ud-Dowla, a minor. The Council, not 
considering him qualified to take into his own 
hands the management of his affairs, and being 
indisposed to leave them to the direction of Nund- 
comar, in whom he was inclined to place great 
confidence, they selected Mahomed Reza Khan, Mahomediteza 
and, in concert with Nijim-ud-Dowla, appointed ed Naib P s P o°ubaii 
him Naib Soubah* of the province of Bengal, in of BengaL 
which capacity he was to conduct and manage all 
the Nabob's affairs. 

On intelligence of this appointment reaching the 


* Deputy Viceroy. 


1772. Directors, they adverted to Mahomed Reza Khan's 
conduct when at Dacca, and observed, " We 
think you passed too slightly over the charge 
urged against him, of being so very deficient in 
accounting for the revenues of the province of 
which he had been governor."* 

Notwithstanding these supposed grounds for at- 
taching suspicion to his former conduct, the man- 
ner in which he discharged the duties of his new 
station received the repeated expression of the 
Testi unonyin Council's approbation, who gave the strongest 

his favour. . . , 

testimony to his having pursued the Company s 
interests with unvarying steadiness and dili- 
declining state jhe provinces had for some time been in a de- 
vinces. clining state. The Council instituted an inquiry 

into the supposed causes, and expressed their una- 
nimous opinion, f that they arose from the want 
of sufficient checks on the instruments of govern- 
ment ; the delegation of trust and authority to one 
or a few, which required the abilities and integrity 
of many to execute ; their ignorance of the real 
produce and capacity of the country, in which 
they were necessarily kept by a set of men, who 
first deceived them from interest, and afterwards 
continued the deception through fear of punish- 
ment and a necessary regard to their own safety ; 


* Letter to Bengal, February, 1766. 

f Letter from Bengal, 30th September, 1769. 


the numerous train of dependents and underlings 1772. 
whom the Collectors entertained, were all to be Bengat 
satisfied from the spoils of the industrious ryot ; 
the venality which formed part of the genius of 
the Collectors, which was known to be openly 
exercised or tacitly allowed by Government, with- 
out drawing any shame or discredit on the guilty, 
or being thought any peculiar hardship on the in- 
jured: the collusion of the Collector with the 
Zemindar, whom the Collector employed as a tool 
to screen his mal-practices, or admitted as an as- 
sociate in his fraudulent gains ; the oppression to 
which the ryot was subject from the multitude of 
gomashtahs* and their dependents ; and, lastly, 
whilst the Company were in reality the principals 
in the revenues of the country, and the most in- 
terested in the good conduct of its government, 
they were precluded from a knowledge of its real 

" Power without control, knowledge without 
participation, and influence without any effectual 
counteraction, was a state of things too important 
and replete with consequences to be vested in any 
three ministers, or rather one single man, who, 
allowing him the clearest preference for integrity, 
ability, and attachment amongst his countrymen, 
could not be supposed superior to temptation, and 
at least ought not to be trusted so extensively and 


* Native Agents. 


1772. independently, as has been necessarily the conse- 

Bengal. n - ,. 

quence of the present system. 
views of court At the period that the Council were thus ad- 

as to revenue 

management, dressing the Court, the latter communicated to 
the Council their views as to the future manage- 
ment of the revenues,* and pointed out Mahomed 
Reza Khan as a fit person to be appointed Naib 
Dewan, or the Company's deputy, for the Bengal 
province ; and, in like manner, Shatab Roy, or 
some other principal person, for the Bahar pro- 

The unexampled drought with which India had 
been visited, caused the greatest distress through- 
out the provinces. The future prospect was con- 
templated with so much dismay by the Council, 
that they suggested the expediency of authorizing 
a remission in the demands of the Government on 
account of the revenues, which remission they 
were constrained to grant to the farmers in the 
January following, without awaiting orders from 

RevcnueCoun- To give effect to the Court's instructions of 

cils appointed. 

1769,+ for a revision of the revenue management, 
Councils were appointed, in September, 1770, at 
Moorshedabad and Patna: the former for the 
Bengal provinces, the latter for those of Bahar. 

The Councils were to inform themselves of the 
real state of the collections in every part ; what 


# Vide page 278. f Vide page 275. 


rents were actually paid by the tenants, and what 1772. 
formerly ; the nature of the cultivation ; the chief Benga 
produce of each district, and whether in that 
respect there was a prospect of improvement. 
Enquiry was to be made as to the charge of collec- 
tions for some years preceding, in order that a 
judgment might be formed of the requisite number 
of Aumils* and other officers, " amongst whom 
immense sums had been divided," which it was 
supposed might be spared. 

This reformation was to be carried forward in a 
moderate, steady, and persevering spirit, with a 
view rather to the prevention of frauds for the 
future than the punishment of offences which had 
been already committed. At the same time, they 
were not entirely to pass over offences, nor to ab- 
stain from enquiring into the character and con- 
duct of the officers of government, from the highest 
to the lowest. 

The Councils were to have the control of the 
Dewanny revenues ; but all the business was to 
be carried on through the Naib, and under his 
seal and signature. He was likewise to give his 
advice and opinion upon all proposed measures. 
No appointments of officers or collectors were to 
be made by the Naib, nor was his seal to be 
affixed to any order but with the approbation of 
the Council. Regular consultations were to be 
kept of their proceedings. Mahomed 

* Collectors of the Revenue. 


Duties of the 


1772. Mahomed Reza Khan had acted in the two 

capacities of Naib Dewan and Naib Nazim. In 

Naib Dewan the former office were determined — all disputes 

and Naib Na- A 

zim. as to revenue, boundaries ot land, charity lands, 

lands held for private emolument, limits of culti- 
vated or uncultivated lands, so as to fix the reve- 
nue arising therefrom on an equitable footing ; 
jurisdictions on landholders, duties on merchan- 
dize, encroachments by inundation or otherwise, 
inheritances and patrimonies, religious lands, 
honorary lands, oppression of tenants or improper 
demands of Zemindars and Phousdars, or mer- 
chants : settling bundabust or rent-roll for the 
provinces, promoting cultivation and popula- 
tion. All sunnuds for lands required the ap- 
probation of the Nizamut. Under the Nizamut 
were regulated — all the affairs of the household, 
protection of the country, sentence on criminals 
and capital punishments, regulation of courts of 
judicature, appointment of Naibs and Phousdars.* 
Upon the due execution of these extensive and 
important trusts, the welfare of the country and 
the happiness of the people mainly depended. 
Hitherto, no Europeans had formally interfered. 
It was too much to expect that one man should 
discharge them satisfactorily ; and it could scarcely 
have been matter of surprise, that the results of 
the inquiry instituted in 1769, justified in some 


# Magistrates under the immediate orders of the Nazim. 


measure, the suspicions entertained by the Council, n?2. 
that oppression had existed, and that the revenues Bengai " 
had been overstrained. Instances were cited in 
proof of the lamentably defective system which 
had prevailed of administering what was termed 
justice ; but these proofs tended rather to shew 
the absence of any well-defined system, than to 
bring home acts of personal delinquency to Maho- 
med Reza Cawn. Nevertheless, such was the dif- 
ficulty of devising any adequate remedy, that, 
under the newly-constituted system of Revenue 
Councils, it was determined that the administra- 
tion of justice should continue as usual. The 
Council, however, were not only to interpose when 
necessary, but every transaction of the country 
government was to come before them. All cri- 
minal cases were to be tried in the Adawlut esta- 
blished for that purpose, and their proceedings 
were to be submitted to the Revenue Council, 
before the sentence awarded was carried into 
effect. All causes relating to property in land, 
and to the revenues, were to be referred to the 
Khalsa Cutcherry,* and causes for debt to the 
judicial Adawlut. f 

When the various statements of the falling-ofF 
of the revenues, the sufferings of the people, 
through alleged oppression, inflicted either directly 


* The Revenue Court. 

f Consultations, 1 1th October, 1770. Court of Justice. 
VOL. I. 2 A 


1772. or intermediately, at a time of severe famine, to- 
Bengal * gether with the mal-administration of justice, 
reached the Court of Directors, they were natu- 
rally led to connect these circumstances with the 
grounds for suspicion which they had previously 
entertained of the character and integrity of Ma- 
homed Reza Cawn. In addition to the public 
despatches, various private representations had 
been sent home, all calculated to strengthen the 
doubts entertained of his conduct. The Court 
accordingly addressed the President and Council 
court's orders a t Calcutta* in the following: terms : — "At a time 

for Company < ° 

standing for- when famine was depopulating a country with 

ward as Dewan x A ^ 

and for removal which we are so immediately connected, and in 

of Mahomed . 

Reza cawn. the prosperity whereof we are so deeply interested, 
we cannot but highly approve every well-meant 
and generous effort to relieve the miseries of the 
poor inhabitants, by whom, in an especial manner, 
the calamity must have been experienced in all its 
dreadful consequences; and as we enjoy a very 
singular pleasure in commending those of our ser- 
vants whose attention has been turned towards 
alleviating the general distress, so are we rilled 
with the greatest indignation on finding a charge 
exhibited against any persons whatever (but es- 
pecially natives of England), for monopolizing 
grain, and thereby aggravating the woes, and no 
doubt increasing the number of wretched mortals, 
labouring under the most awful circumstances 

* Letter to Bengal, 28th August, 1771. 


which could possibly happen to any people what- 1772. 
soever. We are led to these reflections by perus- Bengai - 
ing the letters which accuse the Gomastahs of 
English gentlemen, not barely for monopolizing 
grain, but for compelling the poor ryots to sell 
even the seed requisite for the next harvest. 

"As we have further reasons to suspect that 
large sums have, by violent and oppressive means, 
been actually collected by Mahomed Reza Cawn, 
on account of the Dewanny revenues, great part 
of which he has appropriated to his own use, or 
distributed amongst the creatures of his power and 
the instruments of his oppressions, we should not 
think ourselves justified to the Company or the 
public, were we to leave to him in future the 
management of the Dewanny collections ; and as 
the transferring the like trust to any other minis- 
ter could yield us little prospect of reaping any 
benefit from the change, we are necessitated to 
seek, by other means, the full advantage we have 
to expect from the grant of the Dewanny. It is, 
therefore, our determination to stand forth as 
Dewan, and, by the agency of the Company's 
servants, to take upon ourselves the entire care 
and management of the revenues. In confidence 
therefore, of your abilities to plan and execute 
this important work, we hereby authorize and 
require you to divest Mahomed Reza Cawn, and 
every person employed by or in conjunction with 
him, or acting under his influence, of any further 

2 a 2 charge 


H72. charge or direction in the business of the collec- 
Bengai.. tions ; and we trust that, in the office of Dewan, 
you will adopt such regulations, and pursue such 
measures, as shall at once ensure to us every pos- 
sible advantage, and free the ryots from the oppres- 
sions of Zemindars and petty tyrants, under which 
they may have been suffered to remain, from the 
interested views of those whose influence and 
authority should have been exerted for their relief 
and protection. 

" From the grounds we have to suspect that 
Mahomed Reza Cawn has abused the trust reposed 
in him, and been guilty of many acts of violence 
and injustice towards his countrymen, we deem 
insufficient the depriving him of a station which 
may be made subservient to the most corrupt pur- 
poses. It is, therefore, our pleasure and command, 
that you enter into a minute investigation, not 
only of the causes to which the decrease of reve- 
nue may be ascribed, but also into Mahomed Reza 
Cawn's general conduct during the time the De- 
wanny revenues have been under his charge ; and 
as the several complaints and accusations already 
noticed to you are of a nature too serious to be 
suffered to pass over without the most rigid en- 
quiry, we have directed our President to order 
him to repair to Calcutta, there to answer to the 
facts which shall be alleged against him, both in 
respect to his piiblic administration and private 



Mr. Hastings had resided at Calcutta only two 1772. 
months, and had, as already observed, succeeded Bengal. 
to the chair but ten days, when the orders of the 
Court of August reached him in the night of the 
24th April. On the following morning, he des- Arrest of Ma- 

. . Tt/r Ti/r« -1 n i»r homed Reza 

patched instructions to Mr. Middleton, at Moote- cawn. 
jeyl, desiring, in conformity with the orders of the 
Secret Committee, that he would arrest the person 
of Mahomed Reza Cawn, together with his Dewan, 
Rajah Aumest Sing, and send them down to Cal- 
cutta under a sufficient guard. Every mark of 
tenderness and respect was to be shewn to Ma- 
homed Reza Cawn, consistent with the literal 
performance of the service. Secrecy was to be 
observed, in order to avoid all cause for alarm or 

Precautions were taken by Mr. Middleton to 
allay any tumult, but none were required. Ma- 
homed Reza Cawn, on learning the purport of the 
commission, evinced no inclination to impede the 
execution of the orders, " but with calm submis- 
sion met his unhappy fate," manifesting a readiness 
to comply with them to the fullest extent. He 
proceeded from Mootejeyl on the 27th, and was 
to embark at Mirzapore for Calcutta. On the 28th, 
two days only having elapsed after their receipt, 
Mr. Hastings laid before Council the instructions 
from the Secret Committee, under which he had 
acted. The Board resolved that, consistently with 
those orders, they could not receive Mahomed 



1772. Reza Cawn with the usual honours. It was pro- 
Bsngai.. posed, that, in consideration of the rank of " his 
Excellency," the station he had rilled, and the 
character and consequence he held in the empire, 
a member of the Board should be deputed to wait 
upon him, to explain verbally and in general terms 
the articles laid to his charge. A majority of the 
Board concurred in this measure. The President 
and three other members dissented from it, on the 
ground that it was inconsistent with the proceed- 
ings against him. Mr. Hastings had already 
written to assure Mahomed Reza Cawn of the 
exceeding grief and mortification which the com- 
mands of the Company had caused him ; but 
stated, that he was their servant, and that what- 
ever they ordered it was his duty to obey, " nor 
could he deviate one tittle from it ;" but if, in his 
private character, he could afford him any testi- 
mony of his good will or attachment, he might 
rest assured he would. 

Mr. Middleton was ordered to take charge of 
the office of Dewan, until a proper plan should be 
digested by the Council. 
Rajah shatab The Board considering that the charge of neg- 

Roy seized and 

sent down to lect or embezzlement of the revenues was applied 
equally to Shatab Roy, the Naib Dewan of the 
Bahar province, they resolved to lay an immediate 
restraint upon his person. He was sent down to 
Calcutta on the 7th May. 

Mr. Graham, the member of Council deputed 



to wait upon Mahomed Reza Cawn, met him at 1772 
Chitpore. Having explained the cause of his mis- Bengal. 
sion, the latter expressed much anxiety that no 
delay should take place in bringing forward the 
charges to be preferred against him. 

A plan for the future arrangement of the Nabob's Arrangement 
affairs was taken up by the Committee at Cossim- bob. 
buzar, where Mr. Hastings had arrived from the 
Presidency. The Company having resolved to 
stand forth as Dewan, a question arose as to the 
maintenance of the office of Naib Soubah. The 
Council, after fully considering the various duties 
which appertained to that station, and referring to 
the probable state of affairs at the period when 
the Nabob Maborek-ud-Dowla, who succeeded 
his brother Syoof-ud-Dowla, in 1770, would reach 
his majority, were of opinion, that whatever faith 
might be due to treaties, doubtful in themselves, 
a divided government could only be productive of 
the most serious results and continual contests, 
terminating in anarchy and bloodshed. They, 
therefore, contemplated the possibility of a total 
change of rule taking place by degrees, by which 
the real power that protected the country should 
be substituted, in lieu of that which claimed the 
power by right, but was at the same time unable 
to maintain or support that right. In order to pre- British Sove- 

11 reignty con- 

pare the way for this change, they determined to tempiated. 

take such measures as would retain openly in their 

hands the whole conduct of government, at least 



1772. for the present, and so to accustom the people to 
Bengal. fa e sovereignty of the British nation. 

The office of Naib Soubah was accordingly 
abolished, and a guardian appointed to the Nabob. 
The party fixed upon was Munnee Begum, the 
widow of the late Nabob Jaffier Ally Khan. Her 
rank was considered to give her a claim to the 
pre-eminence, without being open to the objection 
of its interfering with the course of policy to be 
observed in promoting and extending the British 
interests. The plan was adopted by the Council 
at Calcutta. 

The next proposition submitted by Mr. Has- 
tings was the selection of Rajah Goordass, the son 
of Maha-Rajah Nundcomar, for the office of De- 
wan of the Nabob's household. The grounds 
urged for this appointment appear to have been 
the "inveterate and rooted enmity" which had 
long subsisted between Nundcomar and Mahomed 
Reza Cawn, and the necessity of employing the 
vigilance and activity of so penetrating a rival, to 
counteract the designs of the latter, and to eradi- 
cate the influence which he might retain in the 
government. This measure was considered to be 
in strict accordance with the instructions from 
the Court of Directors ; who, if they had not so 
expressed it, had necessarily implied it in their 
commands, since it was not to be expected that a 
new plan of government could effectually take 
place, while the influence of the former subsisted. 



The youth and inexperience of Rajah Goordass 1772. 
were stated to render him inadequate to the real Bengal. 
purposes of his appointment ; but his father was 
considered to possess all the abilities, perse- 
verance, and temper, requisite for such ends, 
in a degree, perhaps, exceeding any man in 

Mr. Barwell entirely concurred in the proposal opposition to 
of Mr. Hastings ; but Messrs. Dawes, Lawrell, a^regarded^ 
and Graham objected to the measure. They con- Nundcomar - 
sidered it, in effect, the appointment of Nundco- 
mar, whose previous political conduct, and the 
orders of the Court of Directors thereon, ren- 
dered him, in their judgment, unfit for the part 
which was suggested by the President. They 
adverted to his having assisted in carrying on a 
correspondence between the Shazada and the 
French governor of Pondicherry, in 1762, and to 
the fact that he was subsequently proved to have 
forged letters, with the view of inculpating and 
ruining a native, named Ram Churn, who had 
acted as banian to Lord Clive, General Caillaud, 
and Mr. Vansittart, which led the Court of Di- 
rectors to remark, that Nundcomar had been 
guilty of carrying on correspondence with the 
country powers, " hurtful to the Company's in- 
terests ; that he appeared to be of a wicked and 
turbulent disposition, and should not be trusted 
with his liberty in the Company's settlement." 
In October, 1764, he was found to have been in 





Mr. Hastings' 
reasons for 
support of 

treaty to furnish Meer Cossim full accounts of 
all the transactions of the English army, on con- 
dition of being appointed to the Dewanny of 
Bengal ; and in March, 1765, Mr. Vansittart had 
reported his treasonable correspondence with the 

In reply to the objections urged against the 
appointment of Rajah Goordass, Mr. Hastings 
remarked, that Nundcomar's situation differed 
materially from that in which he stood under 
Meer Jaffier. He drew a distinction between the 
violation of a trust, and an offence committed 
against a government, to which, at the time, he 
owed no allegiance ; and although he had himself 
detected the circumstances alleged against Nund- 
comar,* still he was persuaded that the Court of 
Directors would attribute his countenancing him 
to motives of zeal and fidelity to the service, in 
repugnance, perhaps, to his own inclinations. 
The father would have no trust or authority, and 
the son not possessing abilities equal to so great 
an undertaking, the slightest suspicion would be 
sufficient to remove the former, and frustrate all 
hope of his following up any design of moment 
against the government. The Board at Calcutta 
unanimously concurred with the Committee of 
Circuit in the appointment of Munnee Begum, as 
guardian to the Nabob ; but there was a differ- 
ence of opinion on that of Rajah Goordass, who 


* Vide page 344. 


was, however, nominated by a vote of the 1772. 
majority. Benoal ' 

These arrangements were notified to the Court causes of delay 

° in proceedings 

in September 1772, when Mr. Hastings himself against Maho- 

1 ° med Reza 

addressed the Directors from Cossimbuzar, ex- cawn and Ra- 

jah Shatab Roy. 

plaining the circumstances under which Mahomed 
Reza Cawn and Rajah Shatab Roy had been so 
long detained in confinement, without any proofs 
having been obtained of their guilt. 

" I beg leave to call to your recollection, that 
by a strange concurrence of unforeseen causes, 
your administration had at this time every object 
that could engage the care of government (war 
only excepted), all demanding their instant atten- 
tion. The settlement of the revenue of Bengal ; 
the dismission of the Naib Dewan and Naib Sou- 
bah of the provinces ; the inquiry into his con- 
duct for a course of years preceding ; the dismis- 
sion of the Naib Dewan of Behar, and inquiry 
into his conduct ; the establishment of the De- 
wanny on the plan directed by the Honourable 
Company ; the arrangement of the Nabob's house- 
hold ; the reduction of his allowance and ex- 
penses ; the establishment of a regular adminis- 
tration of justice throughout the provinces ; the 
inspection and reformation of the public offices ; 
and, independent of all these, the ordinary duties 
of the Presidency, which, from the amazing 
growth of your affairs, were of themselves suffi- 
cient to occupy the whole time and application 



1772. which we could bestow upon them, and even 
Bengal. more than we could bestow, from the want of a 
regular system, the natural consequence of the 
rapidity with which these affairs have accumu- 
lated. So circumstanced, we were under an ab- 
solute necessity to leave many affairs suspended, 
that we might give due despatch to the rest. The 
first in consequence claimed our immediate re- 
gard : this was the settlement of the revenues. 
It was late in the season. The lands had suffered 
unheard-of depopulation by the famine and mor- 
tality of 1769. The collections, violently kept 
up to their former standard, had added to the dis- 
tress of the country, and threatened a general 
decay of the revenue, unless immediate remedies 
were applied to prevent it. 

" The farming system, for a course of years sub- 
jected to proper checks and regulations, seemed 
the most likely to afford relief to the country, and 
both to ascertain and produce the real value of the 
lands without violence to the ryots. It was, there- 
fore, resolved, that this business should first take 
place ; and it was deemed necessary, for this pur- 
pose, that a Committee, composed of the members 
of the Council, should be appointed to carry it into 
execution. The arrangement of the Dewanny, and 
the regulation of the Nabob's household, were 
added to the charge of the Committee ; and as 
these comprehended the most valuable parts of 
your concerns, it was thought proper that I, as 



President, should be joined with it. This rendered 177 " 2 - 
it necessary to suspend the trials of Mahomed 
Reza Cawn and Rajah Shatab Roy, and this reason 
is assigned for it in our minutes. Neither Maho- 
med Reza Cawn nor Rajah Shatab Roy complained 
of the delay as a hardship. Perhaps all parties, 
as is usual in most cases of a public concern, had 
their secret views, which, on this occasion, though 
opposite in their direction, fortunately concurred 
in the same points. These had conceived hopes 
of a relaxation of the Company's orders. Maho- 
med Reza Cawn had even buoyed himself up with 
the hopes of a restoration to his former authority, 
by the interests of his friends, and a change in the 
Direction ; and his letters, and the letters of his 
Dewan to the city, declared these expectations." 
This communication to the Court was succeed- 
ed by a secret despatch of the 10th December fol- 
lowing, in which they were apprized that the 
alleged balance against Mahomed Reza Cawn, of 
forty lacs, on account of the Chukla of Dacca, 
had risen from a mistake, his name having been 
inserted in the accounts of the year 1762, instead 
of the name of his predecessor, Mahomed Ally 
Cawn, and that the former had, as he stated, 
agreed only for 27,62,765 rupees, in the room of 
38,86,242 rupees. The Government nevertheless 
remarked, " We have great reason to believe that, 
on a strict scrutiny, there will appear a balance 
against him of seventeen lacs." 



1773. Before this latter statement had reached the 

Bengal. Court of Directors, they had written to Mr. Has- 
tings,* expressing their entire approbation of the 
measures detailed in his letter from Cossimbuzar, 
of the 1st September, 
court of Direc- " The whole of your conduct seems to have 

tors entirely t " t 

approve of the fully justified the choice of the Secret Committee, t 

conduct of Mr. J J 

Hustings. who entrusted to your management the execution 
of a plan of the utmost importance. 

" Although you will observe that sundry changes 
have lately taken place in the direction of the 
Company's affairs at home, those changes will not 
in the least affect the measures in which you are 
engaged : on the contrary, we take this early op- 
portunity, not only of testifying our entire appro- 
bation of your conduct, but of assuring you of our 
firmest support in accomplishing the work you 
have so successfully commenced ; and we doubt 
not, but it will issue in the deliverance of Bengal 
from oppression, in the establishment of our credit, 
influence, and interest, in India, and consequently, 
in every advantage which the Company or the na- 
tion may justly expect from so important a trans- 


* Letter to Mr. Hastings, 16th April 1773. 

f The terms in which the tenth article of the seventeenth 
charge in the impeachment was couched, questions the truth of 
the assertion made by Mr. Hastings, that he received orders, 
directed to himself, from the Secret Committee. This answer 
of the Court of Directors puts the fact beyond all doubt. 


"We assure ourselves that you will prosecute 1773 - 
your inquiries with steadiness, impartiality, and 
to full effect, notwithstanding the many difficulties 
and temptations which, we are sensible, may be 
thrown in the way of persons engaged in inquiries 
of this nature, in order to weaken their zeal 
for the public good, and to render their endea- 
vours ineffectual for the great purposes of refor- 

"Your attention to the settlement of the reve- 
nues, as a primary object, has our entire appro- 
bation ; and it is with the utmost satisfaction we 
observe that the farming system will be generally 
adopted ; more especially as the researches and 
discoveries made in the two preceding years must 
have nearly ascertained the value and produce of 
the lands ; so that imposition on the part of the 
farmers, respecting the value of the lands and op- 
pression of the tenants, may, we hope, be easily 

" The extirpation of Mahomed Reza Cawn's 
influence was absolutely necessary, and the ap- 
prehending of Shatab Roy equally so. As to any 
hopes which Mahomed Reza Cawn may entertain 
of profiting by changes in the Court of Directors, 
those hopes must speedily vanish ; for, however 
different their sentiments may be in some parti- 
culars, they heartily concur in the propriety and 
necessity of setting him aside, and of putting the 
administration of the Company's affairs in the 



J773. hands of persons who may be rendered responsible 
bengal. < b E ng i an a f or t h e ir conduct in India. 

"Your choice of the Begum for guardian to the 
Nabob, we entirely approve. The use you intend 
making of Nundcomar is very proper; and it 
affords us great satisfaction to find, that you could 
at once determine to suppress all personal resent- 
ment, when the public welfare seemed to clash 
with your private sentiments relative to him. 

" As the shortness of our time will not permit 
us to be more particular, we can only repeat to 
you our assurances of protection and support, in 
carrying into full execution the arrangements you 
have so happily begun ; and as we desire particu- 
larly that you will distinguish and encourage merit 
wherever you find it, so do we most strictly con- 
jure you, not to suffer rank, station, or any con- 
nexion or consideration whatever, to deter you 
from bringing every oppression to light, and every 
offender, native or European, to condign punish- 

" If the abolition of the office of Naib Dewan, 
and stepping forth as principals, should in any 
degree alarm your European neighbours, we rely 
on your prudence for removing every improper 
jealousy that may be entertained on this account. 

" Notwithstanding this letter is signed by us, 
the Court of Directors, we mean it as secret, and 
transmit it confidentially to you only ; and we 
leave it to your discretion to lay the contents, or 



any part thereof, before the Council, if circum- 1773. 
stances should, in your opinion, render it neces- 
sary, or if you should judge it for our interest so 
to do, and not otherwise." 

Considerable progress had been made, by March, 
in the inquiries instituted respecting Rajah Shatab 
Roy and Mahomed Reza Cawn ; but the Council 
foresaw in the latter " a tedious and troublesome 
business." They observed, "You may depend upon 
it, that neither pains nor attention shall be wanting 
to bring it to a conclusion : at present, nothing 
definitive has been done."* 

In the month of August following, the Court jggjj'j,? 
were informed of the entire acquittal of the Rajah 
Shatab Roy, of embezzlement or mismanagement, 
during the period of his administration ; and as the 
Council were fully satisfied of his great abilities 
and experience in revenue affairs, they appointed 
him to act as Roy-royanf of the Bahar province ; 
and the Nabob, at their recommendation, con- 
sented to retain him his Naib for the criminal 
branch of the administration of justice, and to 
interpose in disputes with foreign nations. 

He quitted Calcutta in a very bad state of health, His death, 
and, after languishing some time, died in Septem- 
ber. Rajah Kulliam Sing, his son, was appointed 


* Letter to the Directors, March, 1773. 

f The principal officer under the Dewan of the Provinces, 
who has the immediate charge of the crown lands; and Super- 
intendant of the Exchequer. 

VOL. I. 2 B 


1773. to the vacant office of Roy-royan, in testimony of 
the sense entertained of the merits and services, as 
well as in consideration of the sufferings, of his 
father, by whom he had been entrusted with a 
considerable share in public affairs. The Nabob 
granted him sunnuds, appointing him Naib of the 
Nazim for the Bahar province, and confirming to 
him the title of Maha Rajah.* 
charges not With regard to Mahomed Reza Cawn, the first 

proved against 

MahomedReza charge only, of monopolizing grain during the 
famine, had been gone through, and the Coun- 
cil acknowledged that none of the proofs in its 
support had established his guilt. On the con- 
trary, the belief which prevailed in the country, 
of his being concerned in that trade, appeared to 
have arisen from the notions of the people, who, 
ignorant of the facts, blended and mistook the 
duties of Mahomed Reza Cawns public station, in 
the measures which he pursued for the relief of 
the city, during the height of famine, for the 
exertion of sordid views to gratify and promote 
his private interests. 

The second article of charge was the balance 
against him during the two years that he collected 
the Dacca revenues. This balance he alleged to 
be grounded on a document extorted from him, 
when under bodily fear, by Nundcomar. The 
latter denied the charge, and still declared that 
the balance was due, and might be recovered. 


* Letter from Bengal, 10th November, 1773. 


The Council determined to call upon Nundcomar J :7k 
for proof of the truth of his allegation. Bfngal> 

At the termination of the examination into the 
first charge, Mahomed Reza Cawn had undergone 
fourteen months' confinement. Upon maturely- 
weighing every circumstance, the Council were 
unanimously of opinion, that full opportunity had 
been afforded to all persons desirous of accusing 
him, or of obtaining redress for grievances suffered 
at his hands, to have appeared to give their testi- 
mony, or to make their application, unawed by 
apprehensions of his power or resentment. The 
guard which had been placed over him was 
accordingly removed, on condition that he en- 
gaged not to depart from Calcutta till the in- 
quiry was completed. It terminated in March, 
1774. The Council stated, that although their 
opinions amounted to a general acquittal, they 
had forborne to pronounce them decidedly, but 
referred them to the Court for final judgment. 
He was declared free from arrest, but required Declared free 

, i t-» i • «i i • • fr° m arrest. 

not to leave the Bengal province until his entire 
enlargement was authorized by the Court.* 

In addition to the address from the Government 
of the 17th March, Mr. Hastings felt it necessary, 
in consequence of his having received the especial 
commands of the Court for conducting the inquiry, 
to enter into a personal explanation regarding 


* Letter from Bengal, 15th March, 1774. 


17 ^- some points in the proceedings. He accordingly 
wrote to the Directors on the 24th of that month, 
and alluded to the difficulties which he had to en- 
counter " in the progress of that intricate business.'' 
«p]JSn S — " * liad neitner witnesses, nor vouchers, nor 
?o S the nd roceed. mater i a l s °f an y sort to begin with. For these I 
M^homedReza re ^ e & c hi e % on the abilities, observation, and 
cawn. active malignity of Maharajah Nundcomar. In 

concurrence with the Councils at Cossimbuzar and 
Calcutta, advertisements were published, inviting 
all persons to give information against such as had 
contributed to distress the country in the time of 
famine. I patiently bestowed hours and days in 
listening to the multiplied but indefinite sugges- 
tions of Nundcomar : in a word, I omitted no 
means, which were consistent with my character, 
to bring the truth of this accusation to light. In 
the course of the inquiry, I proceeded with the 
most rigid impartiality, not suffering (I can safely 
say) the smallest bias to incline me. You will see 
with what materials I was furnished. I am sorry 
to say, that some were collected with so little 
decency and regard to truth, as to make me appre- 
hensive of the effects which they might have pro- 
duced, from the countenance afforded to the Po- 
litical Agent in the prosecution, had I not, in my 
own immediate conduct, invariably adhered to the 
strictest rule of justice." 

The natives from whom statements had been 
transmitted home, and to which the Court referred 



in support of the course they directed to be ob- 1774.. 
served towards Mahomed Reza Cawn, when called Bengal - 
to the proof, failed in establishing one iota of the 
charges against him. The accounts furnished by 
Nundcomar appeared more calculated to acquit 
than to afford any proof against him ; and al- 
though Nundcomar had offered to supply very 
minute accounts as to the Dacca collections and 
the Nizamut accounts, and likewise to prove em- 
bezzlement in the rate of exchange, none of the 
papers which he produced afforded any thing like 
proofs, but merely reiterated charges, without one 
voucher, or the least aid that could lead to one, in 
support of them. 

" I am at a loss," said Mr. Hastings, " to dis- 
cover the secret spring which governs the mys- 
terious conduct of this man ;" and then, as if in 
anticipation of what was to befall himself at a 
future period, he wrote : " Notwithstanding the 
consciousness which I possess of my own integrity, 
and the certainty that my conduct throughout this 
ungrateful business will, on the most rigid scru- 
tiny, do me credit, yet I am not without my fears ; 
I am aware of the violent prejudices which were 
taken up at once against Mahomed Reza Cawn 
by all ranks of people, both here and at home. I 
am also aware that, in England, where the very 
name of inquiry into the past management of 
affairs in India, flatters the passion of the times, 
and raises expectations of great and important 





Duplicity of 

detections, the result may baulk those expecta- 
tions, and turn the torrent of clamour another 
way. In many of the private letters which I re- 
ceived from my friends in England, I was warned 
to act with great caution in this inquiry, as the 
confirmation of my credit with the public, and 
(forgive me for adding) with your Honourable 
Court, depended upon it. The magnitude of the 
charges which were alleged against Mahomed 
Reza Cawn, his reputed wealth, the means which 
that afforded him, both of suppressing evidence, 
and even of influencing his judges in his favour, 
and the natural conclusion deducible from so 
many exaggerated accusations, that some part of 
them, at least, was true, gave additional force to 
these cautionary intimations, and made me fear 
for the consequences, not only as they might 
aifect my reputation, which it has been the study 
of my life to maintain unblemished, but as they 
might blast all my hopes from the continuation 
of your favour, which I hold solely on the credit 
of my integrity. I must candidly own, that I 
never gave up a portion of my time to this 
business, without feeling a painful regret that 
so much of it was lost to the care of your real 

He then adverted to the dark and deceitful 
character of Nundeomar, whose gratitude no 
kindness could bind, nor even his own interest 
disengage from the crooked politics which had 



been the study of his whole life. "Before my 1774 - 
departure from Fort St. George, when my ap- 
pointment to this Presidency was known, a mes- 
senger, expressly deputed from Munnee Begum, 
came to me there, with letters from her, entreat- 
ing my protection in the most earnest terms, both 
for her house and for the people of Bengal, against 
the tyranny of Mahomed Reza Cawn, and refer- 
ring for further information to Maharajah Nund- 
comar, from whom I received similar addresses 
on the same subject and by the same hand. The 
Munnee Begum has since solemnly disavowed 
ever having written such letters, or authorized 
such a communication. 

" A short time after the elevation of his son as 
Dewan to the Nabob, Nundcomar sent drafts of 
letters to the Begum, which he recommended her 
to write to me, enumerating the many encroach- 
ments which had been made by the English 
Government on the rights of the Nizamut, and 
reclaiming them on behalf of the Nabob. I trust 
to his own genius to furnish you with nearer 
proofs, in the representations which he has already 
made, or which he may at this time convey to 
your knowledge." In closing the letter, Mr. 
Hastings observed : " Whatever your resolution 
may be concerning the future fate of Mahomed 
Reza Cawn, it is my duty (although I believe it 
unnecessary) to represent that, whatever repara- 
tion you may think due for his past sufferings, the 



1774. restoration of any part of the power which he 
before possessed, will inevitably tend to the injury 
of the Company's affairs, and the diminution of 
your influence and authority. There can be but 
one government and one power in the province. 
Even the pretensions of the Nabob may prove a 
source of embarrassment, when he is of age to 
claim his release from the present state of pupil- 
age which prevents his asserting them." 
wrameiumust * n connex ' on with this last passage, which is 
be supreme. j n accordance with the views entertained by Mr. 
Hastings, on framing the arrangement by which 
Munnee Begum and Rajah Goordass received 
their respective appointments of guardian and 
dewan to the Nabob, it is necessary to bear in 
mind what passed when the Nabob Nazim-ood- 
Dowla was supported in his succession to the 
musnud, on the death of his father, Meer Jaffier, 
in 1765.* 

The acquisition of the Dewanny, which shortly 
followed, led to the further extension of the 
British authority : but the assumption of the 
office of Dewan by the Company was productive 
of far greater changes in the native system of ad- 
ministration than any measure by which it had 
been preceded. 
conduct of Mr. The conduct of Mr. Hastings and of his Coun- 
the S Councii cil, throughout the whole course of the proceed- 
fuiiy approved. ingg regarding Mahomed Reza Cawn and Shatab 


* Vide page 98. 


Roy, was fully approved by the Court of Direc- 1769. 
tors, who observed, that the general and alarming sub- 
accounts of the oppressions rendered a scrutiny 
into their conduct indispensable. The Governor 
and Council had expressed a belief that the in- 
quiry would issue in proving a large balance to 
be due ; the Court, therefore, felt authorized to 
conclude, that there must have been such public 
and general appearances of mal-administration, as 
warranted the course they had adopted ; but as 
they wished Mahomed Reza Cawn to remain un- 
der no other obligations than those of "gratitude ," 
they did not object to his total enlargement.* 

The original instructions to Mr. Hastings, of 
August 1771, were peremptory and decided; he 
obeyed them promptly and literally; but the Sympathy awa. 

pi t i -i • pi kened in behalf 

whole oi the proceedings exhibit the baneful of Mahomed 
effects of acting in any degree upon private and 
unofficial representations, and awaken feelings of 
deep sympathy for the sufferings of a distin- 
guished native, who had been subjected to so 
protracted and severe an ordeal, terminating in 
the entire failure of his enemies to establish any 
one of the charges so unjustly brought against 

Amidst other important matters which engaged 1772. 
the attention of Mr. Hastings and his Council, 
were the negotiations with the Vizier, followed by 

the Rohilla war. 


* Letter to Bengal, 3d March 1775. 


1772. The Court of Directors had received with much 

, EKC L * e concern the statement of the incursions made by 

Incursions of J 

the Mahrattas. the Mahrattas, not only into the territories of the 
King, but those of Shuja Dowla, to part of which 
they had also laid claim.* They regarded the 
conduct of the Rohillas and Jauts as a matter of 
regret rather than surprise, the King and Vizier 
having neglected the opportunity to unite with 
those powers for the purpose of repelling the Mah- 
rattas, who were the common disturbers of the 
empire. To whatever causes this general timidity 
or supineness was owing, the Company's interests 
were equally affected, and the tranquillity of the 
provinces endangered. Still, the projects of the 
King and the Vizier were of too mysterious a 
character to enable the Court to decide as to the 
motives of their inactivity; and as they could not 
know what alliances might be formed to justify 
the carrying the Company's arms beyond the 
bounds of their dominions, they felt precluded 
from proposing any precise plan for the guidance 
of the Council, but trusted that their sole object 
would be the security of the Company's posses- 
sions, and those of the powers with whom they 
were connected, both by treaty and interest ; and 
as this appeared to have guided their conduct, 
upon the Mahrattas invading the province of 
Corah, the measures which they had adopted for 
defending the dominions of the King and Vizier 


* Fide page 280, d seq. 



from their inroads and depredations, were fully 1772 
approved.* B 

The Vizier at length found his position towards vizier consults 

, ,, . ..111 -ii Slr Robert 

the Mahrattas so critical, that he was induced to Barker, 
seek an interview with General Sir Robert Barker, 
to discuss the measures most prudent to be pur- 
sued for the preservation of his interests. He 
was also desirous of adjusting some points con- 
nected with the cession to the Company of the 
fortress of Chunagur. They accordingly met at 
Fyzabad. The Vizier persisted in his determina- P? cline8 *? 

^ J r i join the King. 

tion not to obey the summons of- the King for his 
attendance at Delhi. He felt that, if he joined 
his Majesty, he should be merely an idle specta- 
tor of the enterprize preparing by the Mahrattas 
against the Rohillas ; and in the event of the latter 
being compelled to surrender a large portion of 
their country, his own possessions would be placed 
in jeopardy by the proximity of the enemy, while 
an alliance might, at the same time, take place 
between them and the Rohillas against himself. 
In order to avert these consequences, he resolved 
to open a negociation with the Rohillas. To give 
weight to this proposition, he entreated Sir Robert 
Barker to accompany him on the expedition. The 
Council, anxious to bring matters to a pacific ter- 
mination, acceded to this request. The Rohillas views in sup- 

. port of the Ro- 

appeared ready to make a cession of part of their hUias, who are 

. . . ... „ . . . defeated by the 

territory to him, on condition of his supporting Mahrattas. 


* Letter to Bengal, August 1771. 


1772. Zabita Cawn, then at Succurtaul, guarding the 
fords of the Ganges against the Mahrattas, who 
had prevailed on the King to oppose him. A 
body of the former, under Madajee Scindia, 
amounting to 40,000 men, advanced within six- 
teen coss of the fords. Having taken every pre- 
caution to ensure their passage, they crossed under 
cover of their cannon, and entirely defeated the 
Rohillas. Finding Succurtaul abandoned by 
Zabita Cawn, who sought safety in flight, they 
followed up their success by penetrating to the 
very heart of Rohilcund. 
Apprehensions Had the Vizier not been encouraged by the 

of the Vizier. ° J 

presence of Sir R. Barker at this juncture, he was 
prepared to have submitted to the most humiliating 
terms to purchase his security. Conduct so oppo- 
site to his general ardour, and with a well ap- 
pointed army, was attributed to the disaffection 
which his troops had of late so frequently mani- 
fested towards him. The general enabled the 
Vizier to place his affairs on the frontiers on a 
respectable footing; but being apprehensive that 
the Mahrattas might attempt to penetrate into the 
dominions of Oude, he ordered the first brigade, 
then at Patna, to pass the Caramnassa.* The 
Council disapproved of this step, as no requisition 


* This river separates the province of Bahar from that of 
Benares. On crossing this river, the Company's officers were 
considered to have quitted the Company's territories, and re- 
ceived an additional allowance, in consideration of their distance 
from the Presidency. 


had been made by the Vizier either to the Council 1772. 
or to the Commander-in-chief, for aid, nor had Bengal - 
any stipulation been entered into for the Vizier's 
paying the extra expenses to be incurred by the 

The fort of Chunasrur being at length ceded to cession of 

, ^ o , i-i Chunagurto 

the Company for as long a term as they might the company. 
desire to hold it, one of their battalions took pos- 
session ; their troops were also to remain at Alla- 
habad, the Vizier requiring that his colours should 
be exhibited on the walls merely as an acknow- 
ledgement of his authority. These measures 
necessarily led to our passing the boundary which 
had been so long laid down as the line within 
which the Company's operations were to be con- 

The Mahrattas limited their incursion to laying 
waste the Rohilla country, retiring at the com- 
mencement of the rains. The Rohilla chiefs, Dispersion of 
Hafiz Rhamet and Zabita Cawn, fled precipitately chiefs, 
towards the northern hills, and others had sur- 
rendered to Scindia. The Vizier subsequently 
entered into a treaty with the Rohillas through vizier agrees 
Hafiz Rhamet, by which, on paying him forty lacs r^Hs^ 
of rupees, he was to take an active part in their 
defence. The Mahrattas did not object, provided 
they received their chout. They even offered the 
Vizier part of the conquered territories from the 
Rohillas, contiguous to his own, retaining for 
themselves the tract of land to the westward of 





Council refuse 
to co-operate. 

treatment of 
the King. 

Duplicity of 
the King. 

the Ganges and Zabita Cawn's country, which 
had already been made over to the King. He 
then made a formal requisition to the Council for 
aid, which they declined, not feeling bound by 
treaty to engage with him in distant schemes 
wholly opposed to the course of policy they had 
determined to pursue. They resolved to keep the 
treaty with him inviolate, but disapproved of 
offensive measures, intending to avoid, without 
absolute necessity to the contrary, all military 
operations foreign to the immediate defence of the 
Company's provinces ; but they were apprehen- 
sive that the ambition of the Mahrattas would 
bring the period of interference nearer than they 
could wish. They had already overrun the 
Rohilla country, and they regarded the King, 
who was virtually in their possession, solely as 
the instrument of their own aggrandizement. So 
far from re-establishing him in his government, 
they positively refused to keep their engagement 
of sharing with him half the spoils ; and having 
extorted from him sunnuds for Meerut, they left 
him almost destitute, in the midst of a rich and 
plentiful camp, even of the common necessaries 
required to support at least an appearance of 

His Majesty at this time evinced a desire to 
reunite himself to his former allies ; but, at the 
moment of making this profession, he was sug- 
gesting to the Mahrattas the necessity of their 



sowing dissensions between the Vizier and the 1772 - 
Council, in order the more effectually to promote 
the success of their own movements. 

The negociations between the Rohillas and the Mahrattas' o P - 

position to the 

Vizier were scarcely terminated, when the Mah- treaty between 

Vizier and Ro~ 

rattas, finding themselves excluded, and that a imias. 
treaty of defence had been entered into against 
them, determined to revenge themselves on Shu- 
ja Dowla, and demanded, as the terms for pre- 
serving tranquillity, the cession of Corah, Alla- 
habad, and Benares, the abandonment of his set- 
tlement with the Rohillas, the discharge of all 
sums which the King stood indebted to them, 
and, lastly, that the Vizier should unite with them 
against every opponent. 

The Vizier first announced this intelligence to 
the Council in July, and requested a body of 
troops for his support. The President stated that 
a defensive course could alone be adopted ; but, 
in order to allay his fears, the first brigade was 
directed to join him : he also wrote to Mhadarao council expos- 
and Bysajee, the Mahratta chiefs, acquainting Mahrattas. 
them with the extreme dissatisfaction of the 
Council at the hostile demonstration towards the 
Vizier, and that, by treaty, the Company were 
bound to defend his territories against every 

The Council, in communicating these proceed- 
ings to the Court, stated it to be their unanimous 
determination, that no object or consideration 




[Chap. VII 



Difference be- 
tween Mah- 
ratta chiefs. 

The King op- 
poses them, 
and is defeated. 

Defeat of the 
Jauts by the 

should tempt or compel them to pass the political 
line which they had laid down for their operations 
with the Vizier, which were to be defensive only, 
and the army was not to be carried beyond the 
borders of the Vizier's territories ; adding, " to 
this resolution we shall steadily adhere." 

The Mahratta chiefs having espoused different 
interests in the distribution of Zabita Cawn's 
country, Bysajee and Tokajee broke up their 
camp at Coel, and proceeded towards Delhi, for 
the purpose of intimidating the King into a com- 
pliance with their respective demands on the Ro- 
hillas. His Majesty, influenced by Scindia, op- 
posed all their measures, he would not consent to 
their interfering in the settlement of the Rohilla 
affairs, without the previous concurrence of Mha- 
darao ; and intimated that the Vizier ought to be 
considered the ostensible person in the negocia- 
tions. He was also extremely irritated at the 
march of the chiefs, and collected a body of 
troops, in order to oppose them, should they 
attempt other means than that of negociation. 
Neither party giving way, a battle took place, in 
which the King was completely defeated, and 
again placed at the entire mercy of the Mahrattas. 

Scindia pursued his success against the Jauts, 
who suffered from the defection of a Mr. Maddox, 
an active officer in their service, formerly a de- 
serter from the English army, having gone over from 
the Jauts with a considerable force to the King. 



At the earnest solicitation of the Vizier, Colo- 177a 
nel Champion was ordered to join him with the 

1 ^ Council defer- 

first brigade. A bridge of boats was thrown over mine to include 

i • ' t» /» pi Corah within 

the river at Benares to facilitate the progress of the line of deten- 

TT . . . -ii sive operations. 

troops. His instructions were accompanied by an 
injunction, that "not a single sepoy was to pass 
the frontiers of the Vizier's territories." Colonel 
Champion replaced the first with the second of the 
brigades at Dinagepore. 

The King's affairs in connexion with the Mah- 
rattas, who had extorted from his Majesty a for- 
mal surrender of the provinces of Corah and Cur- 
rah, secured to him for the support of his dignity 
and expenses, under the treaty of 1765, were at 
this time fully entered into by the President. The 
subject having been freely canvassed, and the 
Court's views, of August 1771,* specially referred 
to, the Council determined to include those pro- 
vinces within the line of defensive operations. 
Colonel Champion was accordingly authorized to 
cross the river at Allahabad, either with the whole 
brigade, or such part of it as he might judge pro- 
per for the service. Precise instructions were 
given to Sir Robert Barker on no account to com- 
mence hostilities with the Mahrattas, but to con- 
fine his operations to the Corah province, and not 
to cross the line, nor to engage in an offensive war. 
If the Mahrattas should have begun a war by 


* Fide pages 284-287. 
VOL. I. 2 C 


1773. actual invasion, then he was to be at full liberty 
to adopt such measures for repelling them as he 
might judge most proper, even to passing the bor- 
ders of Corah, to attack with advantage. On the 
service being completed, he was to return within 
the previous limits. The Vizier was to assign the 
revenues of Ghazeepore, or some other adequate 
security, for the payment of the additional charge 
occasioned by these movements for his defence. 
Appoint a su- () n the 26th April, instructions were approved 

pcrinrerxlcnt of 

corah, &c. by the Council to Mr. Lawrell, a member of the 
Board, desiring him to proceed, in the character of 
superintendent, and receive charge from General 
Sir Robert Barker, of the province of Corah, and 
such part of the Allahabad province as was con- 
firmed to the King by the treaty of 1765. 

Munerah-ud-Dowlah was to be maintained as 
the King's Naib in the actual government, but 
under the control of the superintendent. The ap- 
pointment of Mr. Lawrell was to take place in the 
most public manner, in order that no doubt should 
exist as to the intention of the Council to maintain 
the Company's influence and participation in the 
affairs and revenues of the province, and to estab- 
lish a right to the future disposal of it in the most 
equitable manner, when it might become matter 
of negociation. 

Sir Robert Barker was informed, that the great 
and important duties of his station, and the dis- 
tance to which the operations had drawn him, 



precluded the Council from availing themselves of J773. 
the continuance of his services in the Corah pro- BEWOAt - 

t^ . , , • •* i i Sil * Robert 

vince. Previously to the receipt of the above Barker com- 
communication from the Council, Sir Robert Bar- interference^ 
ker had addressed them on the ill-consequences with military 
which he considered to have arisen from civil ser- 
vants interfering with the employment of the mili- 
tary stationed in the provinces. 

In all instructions issued by the Council, the Explanations 
greatest caution had been inculcated as to the 
bearing to be observed by civil servants towards 
the military. The ardour of Mr. Penling, a 
civilian, in an affair at Chittacottah, had carried 
him a little beyond the mere line of his civil 
duty, but rather to his praise than censure : the 
civilian's duty being to point out the service to be 
performed ; but the military, to judge of the mode 
of performing it. The matter was taken up very 
warmly by the General. The Committee of Cir- 
cuit bore the strongest testimony to the delicacy 
observed by Mr. Penling towards the military : 
according to the rule, he had done nothing more 
than become the channel of conveying the orders 
to the military officers. The General stated that 
the officers had become dejected, and that, when 
it was generally known that they were under the 
civilians, " none but men of infamous character 
would accept the Company's service."* 


* Consultations, 3d March, 1773. 
2 C 2 




Further differ- 

Sir Robert 
Barker's rea- 
sons lor desir- 
ing to resign. 

The General was apprised by the Council that 
the orders of the Company were clear and ex- 
plicit : that obedience to the civil power was a 
condition of the acceptance of the service ; and 
that the circumstance of the retreat alluded to by 
the General from Buxydar, was executed by the 
military officer, and not by the civil servant. 

Another circumstance unfortunately occurred in 
the following month, which tended to increase the 
misunderstanding between Sir Robert Barker and 
the Council. It related to Captain Harper's recal 
from the Court of the Vizier, where he had been for 
some time stationed, his services being no longer 
deemed expedient at that post. Notwithstanding 
this determination had been made known to Sir 
Robert Barker, he thought proper to send Captain 
Harper again to the Vizier, for the purpose of trans- 
acting business with his Excellency, giving him the 
command of the Vizier's grenadier sepoys. He 
had also received instructions, through the gene- 
ral's secretary, to remain at Mongheer or Patna 
till he joined him, notwithstanding the public 
order of the Board, that Captain Harper was not 
to be engaged in any way in the Vizier's service. 

The General entered into various explanations 
on points connected with differences that had 
arisen upon military etiquette, and desired to re- 
pair to the Presidency, in order to resign the ser- 
vice ; stating, " it is now, from many concomitant 
circumstances, become impracticable for the com- 


manding officers of the forces to execute what I 1773. 
imagine our honourable employers expect from 
such an office, — viz. to regulate the conduct, man- 
ners, and discipline of the officers and soldiers of 
their army in Bengal, and for other reasons which 
I shall communicate to the Board." * 

The Council replied to this communication in Councils re- 


the following terms : " We solemnly declare, that 
we know no instance in which we have either 
attempted to weaken your authority or deprive 
you of the means to execute this essential part of 
your trust, or where we have refused our support 
to any measure, by which you might advance the 
credit or improvement of the military corps. The 
instance to which alone the charge seems appli- 
cable (we mean, the power granted to the civil 
servants of the Company, of commanding the mi- 
litary forces) cannot be a motive .for you to give 
up so important and honourable a station, and to 
deprive the Company of your services, since you 
express your entire satisfaction in the line which 
we have laid down for the conduct of all military 
operations which shall be undertaken under the 
control of the civil servants. If we have contri- 
buted in any other instances to impel you to so 
abrupt and extraordinary a resolution, we request 
that you will acquaint us very fully with the par- 
ticulars, that we may be enabled to vindicate our 

* Letter to Council from Sir R. Barker, 12th January 1773. 


r/73. conduct to our superiors. The temper of the 
Bengal. times obliges us to this caution and requisition. 
We see the characters of the Company's servants 
indiscriminately branded with the most atrocious 
crimes, founded on vague and indefinite hints, with 
which they have too liberally furnished the public 
against each other, and often on circumstances 
either wholly unknown or unnoticed in the Com- 
pany's records. It becomes, therefore, our duty 
to guard against the possibility of every such 
attack, by fixing every imputation upon our con- 
duct, however remote, to the facts and circum- 
stances o which it may allude." 

The General urged, that his powers as Com- 
mander-in-chief had been lowered ; and, although 
appointments might be made to particular offices by 
the Council at the Presidency, yet that the recom- 
mendation should always have come through him, 
as the Commander-in-chief; that he should have 
been invested with the power of bestowing rewards 
as well as inflicting punishments ; and if the Pre- 
sident and Council, and the President by himself, 
take upon them the sole arrangements of corps, 
the nomination of every post in the army, the 
forming of every detachment, and the appointment 
of every officer to command, there was no occa- 
sion for any Commander-in-chief. 
Mr. Hastings' Mr. Hastings being absent when this letter from 

Minute in reply . 

to sir Robert the General was received by the Council, the Sub- 

ject was taken up on his return to the Presidency. 



He recorded a minute, in which he observed, that 177a 
the objections taken by the General to the exten- 
sion of the civil authority, was rather to the abuse 
of that power than to the power itself. 

" I have neither employed it to gratify personal 
resentment nor personal favour, having made it a 
rule, from which I have never varied but at the 
instance of the General himself, to promote every 
officer according to his rank in the service. What- 
ever cause I may have to conceive myself unfairly 
treated in the reflections cast upon me by the Ge- 
neral, I mean only to vindicate myself in this 
reply. Had he, on any occasion in which he 
judged me to have encroached on the line of his 
duty, acquainted me with it, he would have found 
me disposed to hear him with candour and to repair 
my own inadvertency. I am not ashamed to ac- 
knowledge my errors ; because, from the variety 
and rapid succession of affairs which occupy my 
attention, I have less time and power of recollec- 
tion, and, of course, am more liable to error, than 
any person in the service." 

He then laid down what he considered to be the 
general principles which should govern their pro- 
ceedings : — 

"The collective body of the Council are, or 
ought to be, possessed of an absolute and uncon- 
trollable authority over every office and every de- 
partment of the government ; but in all the detail 
of business, and in the execution of their orders 



1773. which they have entrusted to others, they should 
impose upon themselves the rule of avoiding to 
interfere but on every necessary occasion, of which 
they can only be the judges. 

''The powers of the Council devolve on the 
Governor during the intervals of the meeting of 
the Board, with the same cautionary reserve in 
respect to the detail and executive business, and 
with the exception of such matters as, either by 
express rule, by usage, or by their evident impor- 
tance, are only cognizable by the Board." 

The Council collectively felt called upon to 
record the most ample testimony to the candour 
with which the President had replied to the Gene- 
ral's statements, and to his conduct having been 
strictly regulated by the principles of equity and 
moderation, in no instance exceeding the usage of 
his predecessors. 

Mr. Lawreii Mr. Lawrell took formal possession, on the 26th 

assumes charge , 

of corah. June, of the provinces of Corah and Allahabad, 
and their dependencies, in the name of the Com- 
pany, acting as allies to the King, Shah Alum. 
Had the encroachment of the Mahrattas been 
tacitly acquiesced in, their power would have 
been firmly established in the Dooab and in Ro- 
hilcund. The only barrier between them and the 
Company was the Vizier ; and it was apparent, 
from his conduct on the occasion of the former 
defeat of the Rohillas by Madajee Scindia, in 

. 1772, 


1772, that his continued adherence could not have nre. 
been expected unless supported by the Company's Bengal - 

He had repeatedly expressed a desire for an in- 
terview with the President, to concert measures 
for opposing the Mahrattas. The Council, feel- 
ing that such a meeting might prove advantageous 
to the Company's affairs, resolved that Mr. Has- Mr. Hastings' 

visit to the 

tings should proceed to Benares. He accordingly vizier. 
left Calcutta on the 25th June. The circum- 
stances attending the connexions with the King 
and the Vizier being liable to so many variations, 
the Council felt it to be impossible to mark out 
any precise line for the guidance of Mr. Hastings, 
in whose experience and abilities they reposed the 
most entire confidence. A revision of the exist- 
ing treaties between the Company and the Vizier, 
which were felt to be based on an unequal foot- 
ing, was one of the leading objects, as the latter 
might call upon the Company for assistance, and 
yet was under no defined obligation to defray the 
additional charge thrown upon them by affording 
him such assistance. 

The King having originally proceeded to Delhi 
against the earnest remonstrance of the Council, 
they considered that, so long as he continued 
there, all engagements between his Majesty and 
the Company were dissolved. The permanent 
retention of the provinces of Corah and Allaha- 
bad by the Company, would have been both in- 




Treaty with 
the Vizier. 

convenient and expensive, whilst their proximity 
to the possessions of the Vizier rendered them an 
eligible exchange with him for Chunar and Gha- 

In the event of the King renewing his alliance 
with the Company, they were prepared to restore 
to him those provinces, upon his renouncing the 
tribute of twenty-six lacs from Bengal and Bahar 
and re-uniting himself with the Vizier, to whom the 
management of the provinces was to be confided, 

Mr. Hastings, during his journey towards Be- 
nares, repeatedly urged the King to send some 
one to meet him, with full powers to treat on his 
affairs. His Majesty, instead of complying with 
the request, wrote to the Vizier and Munerah-ud- 
Dowlah, demanding the balance of the tribute 
and its regular payment for the future ; also re- 
quiring that the provinces should be restored to 
Munerah-ud-Dowlah on his behalf. 

Mr. Hastings reached Benares on the 19th 
August, and, on the 7th September, concluded a 
final treaty with the Vizier, by which the districts 
of Corah and Allahabad were ceded to him, on 
condition of his paying fifty lacs of rupees to the 
Company ; twenty in ready money, and the re- 
maining thirty lacs in two years, in two equal 
payments ; and defraying the charges on account 
of any of the Company's forces which he might 
require, the same being fixed at two lacs ten 
thousand per month for a brigade. The Vizier, at 



the instance of Mr. Hastings, renewed with Cheyt 1773. 
Sing the engagements made with his father Bui- Bf - ngai - 
wunt Sing, in 1764, excepting the additional 
tribute of two and a-half lacs of rupees, to which 
Cheyt Sing had agreed, on his accession to the 
Raj, in 1770. Application was again made to 
the Vizier for the dismissal of M. Gentil, although 
Mr. Hastings was of opinion that " the man" had 
acquired importance from the notice taken of 
him, rather than from his real power to affect our 
interests. It was arranged that a Resident should 
be appointed to the Court of the Vizier from the 

The Vizier left Benares the 10th September, on Mr. Hastings 
which day Mr. Hastings departed for Chunar, council and 
where he fixed the boundary of the lands apper- repor 
taining to the fort. He then proceeded to Patna, 
for the purpose of acquiring information respect- 
ing the saltpetre-manufactories ; and resumed his 
seat at the Board on the 4th October, when he 
submitted a detailed report of his proceedings, 
and adverted to what had passed between the 
Vizier and himself, as to the appointment of a 
Resident at the Court of Oude, from the Gover- 
nor in Council. 

" In the course of our conversation, the Vizier 
frequently expressed the satisfaction which he had 
received from our meeting, and from the friendly 
and confidential intercourse which had taken place 
between us. Though such professions are not 



1773. always to be received in their literal sense, I took 
occasion from them to ask him whether it would 
be agreeable to him that a person in whom I con- 
fided should be appointed by me to reside near his 
person, for the sake of perpetuating and strength- 
ening the good understanding so happily begun, 
as well as for the transaction of such ordinary 
affairs as might not suit the formality of a cor- 
respondence by letter, but which, in their amount, 
are always found to be productive of important 
effects : that I desired it myself ; but unless it 
was equally his wish, I would neither propose 
nor consent to it, as it would not, in such a case, 
be productive of the good effects which I meant 
to derive from it. He declared to me that it 
would be entirely pleasing to him. I told him 
that I would again address him, after my return 
to Calcutta, on the same subject, when I should 
have made choice of a person duly qualified for so 
important a trust. It now rests with you, gentle- 
men, to determine on the propriety of this appoint- 
ment. I will offer it frankly as my opinion, that 
if you shall think it proper to entrust with me the 
sole nomination of such a Resident, and the power 
of recalling him whenever I shall judge his pre- 
sence to be no longer necessary, it may be attend- 
ed with good effects ; in any other mode, I fear 
the appointment would exclude me from being 
the channel of connexion between this government 
and the Vizier, and prevent my availing myself of 



that influence with him which I have taken much H73. 
pains to establish, and I hope not altogether 

The Council congratulated the President on the council ap- 

7 . . prove of Mr. 

successful termination of his mission, which they Hastings' con- 
considered to be most beneficial for the Company's 
interests, and declared that the treaty had been 
framed in strict accordance with the system recog- 
nized by the Court for maintaining and strengthen- 
ing an alliance with the Vizier, whose dominions 
formed the natural barrier for the security of the 
Company's provinces. They also agreed to delegate Authorize him 
to Mr. Hastings the power of nominating an agent resident with 

• i i • i i • • i Vizier. 

to reside at his court, whenever, in his judgment, 
circumstances might require it : the party to be 
approved by the Board, the power of recal being 
left to Mr. Hastings, who was to notify its exer- 
cise to the Board. 

Sir Robert Barker arrived at Calcutta on the sir Robert 

m i s-\ i i t i • r*i -ii Barker dissents 

7th October, and took his seat in Council, when from the treaty 
he recorded his dissent from the arrangement 
which had been made at Benares, contrary, in his 
judgment, to the treaty of Allahabad of 1765. 
Mr. Hastings replied to the General's objections, Mr. Hastings 
and contended that the districts of Corah and measure. 
Allahabad had been bestowed on Shah Alum for 
the support of his dignity and expenses. That 
the King first abandoned, and afterwards, by a 
solemn grant, gave them away to the Mahrattas, 
who were more dangerous neighbours. In re- 


1773. suming these provinces, the Government did so, 
Bengal. nQt f Yom tne King, whose property and rights 
were annulled by his own alienation of them, but 
from the Mahrattas. If it was repugnant to the 
treaty to possess these provinces from the King, it 
was equally so to oppose the Mahrattas, who by 
force obtained them from the King, a mere pageant 
in their hands. The sunnuds for the Dewanny 
could in no way be considered dependent upon 
the possession of Corah and Allahabad by the 
King. The General observed, " that it was more 
than probable that we should soon see these sun- 
nuds in the hands of other nations." Mr. Hastings 
asked, " What will they avail them ? It was not 
the want of the sunnuds of Shah Alum which 
defeated the long-concerted projects of the Due 
de Choiseul, nor will the possession of them 
quicken the designs of the Mahrattas against us. 
The sword, which gave us the dominion of Bengal, 
must be the instrument of its preservation; and if 
(which God forbid) it shall ever cease to be ours, 
the next proprietor will derive his right and pos- 
session from the same natural charter. 

" Opinions of what might have been done, 
always have an advantage in the comparison with 
what has been done. Any conjectures may be 
hazarded of the probable consequences of the for- 
mer ; no events can refute them : the latter are 
fixed to certain and unavoidable proofs. I feel 
the force of this inequality in the present argu- 


ment with the General. I can only oppose my 1773. 
own opinions to his conjectures, which cannot BENGAt - 
overthrow them. The measures which I have 
adopted can at this time admit of no amendment, 
nor can any reasoning avert the effects, although 
it will always be easy to infer every disappoint- 
ment, and every ill-consequence, as the necessary 
deductions from them." 

The General charged Mr. Hastings with having 
excluded him from the commission to treat with 
the Vizier, and with bringing him to Benares 
merely to lessen his consequence in the eyes of 
the natives. The act of exclusion was, however, 
that of the Council, and not of Mr. Hastings ; who 
immediately on his arrival detailed to the General, 
very circumstantially, the subject and design of 
his commission and his- instructions, of which 
the General had expressed his full approbation 
in every part, excepting that more notice had not 
been taken of him in it. To this remark Mr. 
Hastings very frankly replied, that the Vizier 
was little acquainted with the regular powers 
and constitution of the government ; that he had, 
in fact, placed no dependence upon the govern- 
ment, but had made all his applications to the 
Commander-in-chief; and that it was intended 
to convince the Vizier that his immediate depen • 
dence was on the government alone, and to estab- 
lish a communication direct with him, without 





Vizier medi- 
tates opera- 
tions against 
the Rohillas. 

His letter to 
the Council. 

Council's deter- 
mination as to 
the Dooab and 
the Rohillas. 

These unprofitable differences were scarcely 
terminated, when circumstances arose which led 
to the Company's troops taking part in the opera- 
tions against the Rohillas. 

On the 18th November, a letter was received by 
the Council from the Vizier, representing that 
Hafiz Rhamet Khan, and other Rohilla sirdars, 
intended to take possession of Etawah and the 
rest of the country belonging to the Mahrattas in 
the Dooab. 

" I therefore write to inform you, that if such 
is their intention, I will not put up with it, but 
shall, undoubtedly, undertake an expedition against 
them ; for, in the first place, they have not made 
good a single claum (the fortieth part of a rupee) 
of the forty lacs of rupees, according to their 
agreement ; and, in the next, they are now going 
to take possession of another country. This I will 
never submit to, and I am, therefore, determined to 
punish them. 

" On condition of the entire expulsion of the 
Rohillas, I will pay to the Company the sum of 
forty lacs of rupees in ready money, whenever I 
shall discharge the English troops ; and until the 
expulsion of the Rohillas shall be effected, I will 
pay the expenses of the English troops ; that is to 
say, I will pay them the sum of 2, 10,000 monthly. " 

To the first proposition respecting the Dooab,* 


* The Dooab signifies a tract of land formed by the approxi- 
mation and junction of two rivers. That formed by the Ganges 
and Jumna rivers is so called. 


the Council had no hesitation in giving a direct H73. 
negative. The second they considered to involve Bengai 
many points connected with the political interests 
of the Company in those parts, and therefore 
called for serious deliberation. 

The power of the Rohillas had long been 
thought dangerous to the Vizier, the only useful 
ally of the Company. The Council acknowledged 
their ignorance of the Rohilla states generally, 
and, consequently, that their reports to the Direc- 
tors must have been too defective to have ena- 
bled them to form an accurate opinion, although 
such reports had led the Court to rank them 
amongst the powers capable of opposing the Mah- 
rattas.* Their country was stated to be so remote 
from that of the Mahrattas, that the latter might 
occasionally attack them by allurement of plunder, 
but would never form a systematic scheme of con- 
quest of a possession so difficult to hold. On the 
other hand, the Vizier would always be an object 
of jealousy and apprehension to the Rohillas ; 
and it was more probable that the Mahrattas and 
Rohillas should unite in hostilities against Oude, 
than continue at war with each other, j- 


* Vide page 198. 

f An interesting report on Rohilcund will be found in the 
1st vol. of the Revenue and Judical Collections, selected under 
the orders of the Directors in 1820, and printed for the use of 
the Court and their servants. The Report was made to the 
Supreme Government on the 13th April 1808, by the Board 
of Commissioners, R. W. Cox, Esq. and H. St. George Tucker, 

VOL.* I. 2d Esq. 


1773. The advantages anticipated from an expedition 

Bengal, against the Rohillas were, the placing the posses- 
sions of the Vizier in a complete and compact 
state ; and shutting them in from foreign invasion 
by the Ganges, from the frontiers of Bahar to the 
mountains of Thibet, at the same time that they 
would remain equally accessible to the Com- 
pany's forces, either for hostilities or protection. 
The Vizier would also acquire wealth, of which 
the Company might partake, and his security 
would be increased, without any dangerous in- 
crease of power ; for, by bringing his frontier nearer 
to the Mahrattas, to whom singly he would be 
no match, he would be rendered more dependent 
on the Company. Among other considerable be- 
nefits were, the acquisition of the forty lacs, and 
the immediate ease to the Company of the bur- 
then of one-third of their whole army. 

Notwithstanding these reasons in favour of the 
expedition, upon general principles, some doubts 
were entertained by the President as to its expe- 

Esq. both then of the Bengal Civil Service ; the latter now 
a member of the Court of Directors. Rohilcund formed part of 
the ceded territories acquired by the Company, through treaty 
with the Nabob Vizier, and is described in the Report as " the 
most productive and valuable of the late acquisition/' Sugar 
is in great abundance and of excellent quality, and when the 
transit duties which embarrass the cultivation shall be regulated, 
- it will become a valuable article of export. " The manage- 
ment of Fizula Cawn was celebrated throughout the country. 
It was described as that of an enlightened and liberal landlord." 


diency at that time, "the Company being exposed n?3. 
at home to popular clamour ; all their measures Bengal - 
being liable to be canvassed in Parliament; their 
charter drawing to a close, and his Majesty's minis- 
ters being unquestionably ready to take advantage 
of every favourable circumstance in the negociation 
for its renewal. In this situation, there appears 
an unusual degree of responsibility annexed to 
such an undertaking." 

Mr. Hastings felt the embarrassing position in 
which he was placed, from what had passed with 
the Vizier at Benares, and the assurance given 
him of aid in the enterprize. 

The Council having deliberately considered the 
various circumstances stated by the President, 
"concurred heartily in wishing to avoid the expe- 
dition." They admitted the advantages that would 
accrue to the Company, but felt the objections to 
preponderate. Still, the honour of the Company's 
government being concerned, they agreed upon a 
letter to the Vizier, couched in terms rather calcu- 
lated to produce a refusal on his part to accept of 
aid, than to promote the undertaking.* Orders 
were at the same time sent for the brigade at Dina- 
pore to await the requisition of the Vizier. 

The letter produced the desired effect. His vizier declines 
Excellency declined the proffered aid in his dis- 
tant expeditions, on the conditions required of him; 

* Consultations, 26th November 1773. 
2 D 2 

Company's aid. 


1773. but requested that the brigade should be ready to 
Bengal. marcn> whenever he might summon it, for the de- 
fence of his own dominions. He then advanced 

succeeds in the into the Dooab. Etawah, being defended by 
only a small body of Mahrattas, surrendered at 
discretion. He treated the garrison with great 
moderation, but ordered the fortifications to be 

This success, added to his large and apparently 
formidable army, in the absence of the Mahrattas, 
who had marched to the Deccan, where serious 
divisions had arisen amongst their leaders, enabled 
the Vizier to pass through an enemy's country 
with as little interruption as if he had been in 

King's troops progress through his own dominions. At the same 

dcfpjit tilt* 

jautsandcap- time, NujifF Cawn, the King's general, who sup- 
ported the remains of the royal authority, having 
defeated the Jauts, and being recovered from the 
wounds which he had received in the action with 
them, advanced to invest Agra,* the capital city of 
the Jauts. The Vizier was obliged to contribute to 
this operation, for the sake of appearances, and 
accordingly despatched part of his troops, with 

1774. some guns. Agra capitulated on the 15th Fe- 
bruary, and was taken possession of by NujifF 
Cawn, in the King's name, on the 17th March. 

A requisition having been made by the Vizier 
for the brigade to advance from Patna, orders were 


* Now the seat of a Lieutenant-Governor under the Com- 
pany for the Western Provinces ! 


accordingly given for its being placed under the 1 7 ™. 
command of Colonel Champion. The Vizier „ Bfngal - 

1 Requisition 

agreed to the terms already stated. The troops to from Vizier for 

° J L the brigade to 

be employed only in his own country, or in that advance against 

r J J J Rohilcund. 

of the Rohillas, lying between the Ganges and 
the mountains. The monthly subsidy of two 
lacs ten thousand to be paid, and the forty 
lacs, when the operations against the Rohillas 
were concluded. 

Colonel Champion was apprized by the Council instructions to 
that the express purpose for which the Vizier had 
demanded aid was the reduction of the Rohilla 
country lying between the Ganges and the moun- 
tains. On reaching the Vizier's country, he was 
to acquaint his Excellency that he was ready to 
proceed on the service, for which he required his 
further instructions. The C6uncil did not suppose 
that the Vizier would find time, after his operations 
in the Dooab, to attempt the conquest of Rohil- 
cund; but, in the possible event of his prosecuting 
that enterprize, Colonel Champion was desired 
not to pass the boundary which divides the pro- 
vince of Oude from the Rohillas, except at the 
express requisition of the Vizier; in which case, he 
was to confine all his operations to that country, 
and to the dominions of his Excellency. He was 
not, upon any account whatever, to permit the 
troops, or any part of them, to pass the river 
Ganges from the Rohilla country, nor the bounda- 
ries of the Vizier's dominions, comprehending his 



1774. ancient possessions of Oude, and the new acqui- 
Bengal. s itions of Corah and Allahabad. He was to seek 
a personal interview to concert the intended ope- 
rations in which the Company's forces were to 
be employed. He was publicly to declare that he 
went only to meet the Vizier, and with no inten- 
tion of joining in any measures against the Mah- 
rattas. In the event of the subsidy being one 
month in arrear in payment to the troops, Colonel 
Champion was to retire with his forces to Benares, 
there to await the orders of the Council. 

He took leave on the 21st February, and imme- 
diately proceeded to the command of the army. 
Troops cross The troops crossed the Caramnassa on the 24th 

the Caramnassa 

and defeat the March ; and having advanced through the Vizier's 

R0hillaS - • • 1 ! 1 

dominions, encountered the enemy on the 22d 
April, when a decisive action was fought, in 
which a considerable number of the Rohilla army 
were killed, including their leader, Hafiz Rhamet, 
who fell, together with one of his sons, whilst 
bravely rallying his people. The Vizier was 
represented to have evinced the most "shameful 

Colonel Champion having addressed the Coun- 
cil as to the ulterior views of the Vizier, and the 
course to be adopted in the event of the King 
advancing a claim to any portion of the Rohilla 
country, the majority resolved that the King- 
should be opposed, as he was, in fact, a mere 
instrument in the hands of the Mahrattas. 




Accounts of severity of conduct, on the part of 1774. 
the Vizier, towards the family of Hafiz Rhamet, B 
reaching the Council, they intimated to Colonel 
Champion that it had been an invariable maxim 
in the policy of the Company's governments, in 
the execution of any enterprizes undertaken in 
behalf of their allies, to interpose their protection 
in favour of the conquered princes, for the secu- 
rity of their lives and honour ; that it was the 
intention of the Council to adhere to a maxim 
which had so greatly contributed to the reputa- 
tion of the British name, and to perform what 
might be incumbent on them on the occasion in 
question. They accordingly desired to be in- 
formed of the nature and instances of the ill-treat- 
ment alluded to, in order that they might judge of 
the measures proper to be adopted. In the interim, 
the Commander-in-chief was to urge such remon- 
strances to the Vizier as occasion might require ; 
and to point out how entirely abhorrent the Coun- 
cil were to every species of inhumanity. No in- 
stances were, however, adduced in proof of the 
allegations of cruelty, which appeared to have 
been made upon general rumour. 

The Vizier having intimated to Colonel Cham- 
pion, in the month of May, that he had no further 
occasion for the services of the troops in the field 
before the rains, preparations were made to canton 
them at Bareilly. The whole of the country lately 
possessed by Hafiz Rhamet, with Ouly and Bes- 



1774. souly, belonging to the son of Dudney Cawn, had 
Bengal. been acquired by the Vizier. 
Dispatch to the The Council, in announcing these events to the 

Court of Direc- ° 

tors, with rea- Directors, stated, that " every circumstance that 

sons for the . 

operations could possibly favour this enter prize, by an un- 
Rohiiias. common combination of political considerations 

and fortuitous events, operated in support of the 

" 1st. Justice to the Vizier for the aggravated 
breach of treaty in the Rohilla chiefs. 

" 2d. The honour of the Company, pledged 
implicitly by General Barker's attestation for the 
accomplishment of this treaty, and which, added 
to their alliance with the Vizier, engaged us to see 
redress obtained for the perfidy of the Rohillas. 

"3d. The completion of the line of defence of 
the Vizier's dominions, by extending his boundary 
to the natural barrier formed by the northern chain 
of hills and the Ganges and their junction. 

" 4th. The acquisition of forty lacs of rupees to 
the Company, and of so much specie added to the 
exhausted currency of these provinces. 

" 5th. The subsidy of two lacs ten thousand 
rupees per month, for defraying the charges of 
one- third of our army employed with the Vizier. 

" 6th. The urgent and recent orders of the 
Company for reducing charges, and procuring 
the means to discharge the heavy debt at interest, 
heightened by the advices of their great distresses 
at home. 

" 7th. 


" 7th. The absence of the Mahrattas from Hin- n?4. 
dostan, which left an open field for carrying the Bengal - 
proposed plan into execution. 

" 8th, and lastly. The intestine divisions and 
dissensions in their state, which, by engaging them 
fully at home, would prevent interruptions from 
their incursions, and leave a moral certainty of 
success to the enterprise. 

" These were the inducements which deter- 
mined us to adopt this new plan of conduct ; in 
opposition to which, one powerful objection, and 
only one, occurred, namely, the personal hazard 
we ran, in undertaking so uncommon a measure 
without positive instructions, at our own risk, 
with the eyes of the whole nation on the affairs of 
the Company, and the passions and prejudices of 
almost every man in England inflamed against the 
conduct of the Company, and the characters of 
their servants. Notwithstanding which, we yielded 
to the strong necessity impressed upon us by the 
inducements abovementioned, in spite of the sug- 
gestions and the checks of self-interest, which set 
continually before our eyes the dread of forfeiting 
the favour of our employers and becoming the 
objects of popular invective, and made us involun- 
tarily rejoice at every change in the Vizier's 
advices, which protracted the execution of the 
measure. At length, however, his resolution co- 
inciding with our opinions, the enterprize was 
undertaken ; and if our intelligence be confirmed, 







Further opera- 
tions against 
the Itohillas. 

it is now finally closed, with that success which 
we had foreseen from the beginning. We shall 
then again return to the state of peace from whicL 
we emerged, when we first engaged in the Rohilla 
expedition, with the actual possession or acknow- 
ledged right (which the power of this Government 
can amply and effectually assert) of near seventy 
lacs of rupees, acquired by the monthly subsidy 
and the stipulation : and it rests with you to pass 
the ultimate judgment on our conduct."* 

This letter had scarcely been despatched, when 
the troops were again called into the field, in con- 
sequence of intelligence that matters were ac- 
commodated between the Mahratta chieftains. 
The Vizier was, therefore, anxious to complete the 
total reduction of the Rohillas without delay, by 
which the designs of the King and the Mahrattas, 
to be executed after the rains, would be defeated. 
The King had taken into his service Sumroo, the 
notorious assassin of the unfortunate prisoners at 

The Vizier had been punctual in his payments 
of the monthly subsidy for the brigade, and had 
given an assignment on his treasury for the fifteen 
lacs due by the treaty of September, 1773,;}: for 
the second payment on account of the cession of 
Corah and Allahabad. 

Colonel Champion, under all the circumstances, 

* Letter to Court, 17th October, 1774. 
■f Vide page 89. J Vide printed Treaties. 


consented to advance. On the 10th of August, 1774.. 
when within four short marches of Pattir Gur, he Bengal - 
received information that the Rohillas were retir- 
ing, but had left a body of troops at that place, 
which was taken possession of by the Vizier on 
the 16th. This event completed his conquest of 
the Rohilla country, wherein the Company had 
engaged to assist him. Fizula Cawn, their re- 
maining chief, with an army of 40,000 men, was 
cooped up in the mountains. They had suffered 
much from the want of provisions. The Vizier, 
desirous of finishing the war, made proposals 
to him, which were rejected.* The position of 
Fizula Cawn was beyond the Rohilla country, 
the limits within which the operations of the Com- 
pany's troops were to be confined. Colonel Cham- 
pion had been repeatedly solicited by the Vizier to 
attack them ; being subsequently authorized to 
exercise his own judgment as to the best measures 
to be pursued for bringing the war to a close, he 
consented to advance against them and thus ter- 
minated hostilities. 

The Vizier proposed an interview with the King, vizier proposes 

n , . an interview 

for the avowed purpose of regulating the lately with the King. 
conquered countries. It was agreed, that the com- 
manding officer of the Company's troops should 
be present, and assist with his counsel and advice. 
He was strictly prohibited from engaging the 
Company as guarantee to any of the treaties or 
agreements which might be entered into between 



1774. his Majesty and the Vizier, or from being a party 
to any other engagements whatever, likely to pro- 
duce any new claims or demands upon the Com- 
pany. If the influence of the brigade, employed 
for the security of the Vizier's country, should 
extend itself to the protection of any part which 
might be allotted to the King, Colonel Champion 
was instructed to demand the renunciation of his 
Majesty's claim to the Bengal tribute, and thereby 
prevent any future cause of misunderstanding be- 
tween the King and the Company. 



The collection of the Revenues and the ad- 1772-4. 
ministration of Justice were other important Bengai - 

Revenue and 

objects which claimed the attention of govern- judicial sys- 

J tern. 


The approbation given by the Directors to Revenue sys- 
the plan of farming lands on lease, has been al- tem> 
ready noticed, in connexion with the proceed- 
ings relative to Mahomed Keza Khan, and their 
determination to stand forth as Dewan, " by the 
agency of the Company's servants," and to assume 
the entire management of the .revenues.* 

The Council accordingly deliberated on the 
establishment of a plan for giving effect to the 
Court's views, for settling the several districts 
throughout the provinces upon the same footing, 
and for the future government of the collections. 

Some conception of the difficulty of the task 
may be formed from a consideration of the va- 
rious circumstances connected with the state of 
the revenue system at that period. 

The effects of the famine with which the pro- 
vinces had been visited, had been dwelt upon 
in laboured descriptions ; every circumstance of 
fact, and every art of language, had been accumu- 

* Vide page 355. 


1772-4. lated to raise compassion and to excite indigna- 
Bengal. t - on a g ams t the Company's servants. But its in- 
fluence upon the revenues had remained un- 
noticed, and even unfelt, by those for whom it 
was collected ; for, notwithstanding the loss of at 
least one-third of the inhabitants of the province, 
and the consequent decrease of the cultivation, the 
net collections of 1771 exceeded those of 1768, 
which preceded the year of dearth, and fol- 
lowed that of the famine in 1770. This circum- 
stance was owing to the revenue having been 
violently kept up to its former standard. It was 
not easy to trace the various means by which 
this was effected ; indeed, the task of following 
the progress of the collections through all its intri- 
cate channels, or even of comprehending all the 
elements which composed it in its first operations, 
was most difficult. There was one tax, however, 
which the Council described as accounting for the 
equality preserved in the past collections. It was 
called Nqjaihy, or an assessment upon the actual 
inhabitants of every inferior division of the lands, 
to make up for the loss sustained in the rents of 
their neighbours, who were either dead or had fled 
the country. This tax, equally impolitic and op- 
pressive, had been authorized by the ancient and 
general usage of the country. It had not the 
sanction of government, but took place as a mat- 
ter of course. In ordinary cases, and while the 
lands were in a state of cultivation, it was scarcely 



felt, and never or rarely complained of. However 1772-4. 

.,,, ., . . . . rv-ii Bengal. 

irreconcileable with strict justice, it attorned a 
reparation to the state for occasional deficiences ; 
it was a kind of security against desertion, by 
making the inhabitants mutually responsible for 
each other, and precluded the inferior collector 
from availing himself of the pretext of waste or 
deserted lands, to withhold any part of his collec- 
tions. But the same practice which, under dif- 
ferent circumstances, might have been beneficial, 
became under the affliction of famine, an intole- 
rable burthen, and fell, with peculiar seventy, 
upon the inhabitants of those villages which had 
suffered the greatest depopulation. It also afforded 
an opportunity to the farmers and others to levy, 
under colour of it, contributions on the people, 
and even to increase it to whatever magnitude 
they pleased, being themselves the judges of the 
loss sustained, and of the proportion which the 
inhabitants were to pay to replace it. 

It has been observed, with reference to the then 
state of the Revenue System, " that seven years 
had elapsed since the Company became possessed 
of the Dewanny, yet no regular process had been 
formed for conducting it." Such was the un- 
doubted fact; but it may be asked, whether the 
Court at home, or their representatives abroad, 
were in a situation to have framed and laid down 
any such scheme? The novelty of the business 
connected with the revenue, to those who were 



1772-4. appointed to superintend it — the chicanery of the 
Bengal. people whom they were obliged to employ as their 
agents — the accidental exigencies of each district, 
and not unfrequently the just discernment of the 
collector, occasioned many changes ; every change 
added to the confusion which involved the whole, 
and few were either authorized or known by the 
presiding members of the government. The articles 
which composed the revenue, the mode of keeping 
accounts, the computation of time, even the tech- 
nical terms, which form the greatest part of the 
obscurity of every science, differed as much as 
the soil and productions of the province. This 
confusion was stated to have had its origin in the 
nature of the former government. The Nazims 
exacted what they could from the Zemindars and 
great farmers of the revenues, whom they left at 
liberty to plunder all below them, reserving to 
themselves the prerogative of plundering in their 
turn. The Mootsuddees,* who stood between the 
Nazim and the Zemindars, or between them and 
the people, had each their share of the public 
wealth. These profits, being considered illegal 
embezzlements, were consequently taken with 
every caution which could ensure secresy : and, 
being fixed by no rule, the amount was dependent 
on the temper, abilities, or power of each indivi- 
dual. It therefore became a duty in every man 


# Clerks or accountants. 


to take the most effectual measures to con- 17724. 
ceal the value of his property, and elude every 
inquiry into his conduct ; while the zemindars and 
other landholders, who had the advantage of long 
possession, availed themselves of it by complex di- 
visions of the lands, and intricate modes of collec- 
tion, to perplex the officers of government, and 
confine the knowledge of the rents to them- 

To the original defects inherent in the consti- 
tution of these provinces, was added the unequal 
and unsettled government of them. Part of the 
lands which were before in the possession of the 
Company, such as Burdwan, Midnapore, and 
Chittagong, continued subject to the authority of 
three chiefs, who were immediately accountable 
to the Presidency. The Twenty-four Pergunnahs, 
acquired by the treaty of Plassey, were the Com- 
pany's on a different tenure, being their imme- 
diate property, by the exclusion of the zemindars 
or hereditary proprietors. Their rents were re- 
ceived by agents appointed to each pergunnah, 
and remitted to the collector, who resided at Cal- 

The rest of the province was for some time en- 
trusted to the joint charge of the Naib Dewan 
and Resident of the Durbar, and afterwards to the 
Council of Revenue at Moorshedabad, and to 
the supervisors, who were accountable to that 
Council. The administration itself was totally 

vol. i. 2 e excluded 


1772-4. excluded from all concern in this branch of the 



The internal arrangement of each district varied 
no less than that of the whole province. Of the 
lands subject to the same collector, and inter- 
mixed with each other, some were held by farm, 
some superintended by sheikdars or agents on the 
part of the collector, and some left to the zemin- 
dars or talookdars themselves, under various de- 
grees of control. The first were racked without 
mercy, because the leases were but of a year's 
standing, and the farmer had no interest or check 
to restrain him from exacting more than the land 
could bear. The second were equally drained, 
and the rents embezzled, as it was not possible 
for the collector, with the greatest degree of atten- 
tion on his part, to prevent it. There was no 
reason to suppose that the latter escaped the gene- 
ral corruption. 

A Committee of Circuit, consisting of the Presi- 
dent and four other members of the Board, was 
accordingly appointed for the purpose of forming 
a settlement, under personal inspection, at the Sud- 
der Cutcherry of each district. In consequence 
of the proximity of the districts of Hooghly, 
Hedgellee, the Calcutta pergunnahs, Burdwan, 
Midnapore, and Beerbhoom, their settlement was 
left to the determination of the remaining mem- 
bers of the Board. As the servants would hence- 
forth be solely employed in superintending and 



collecting the revenues, the designation of collec- 1772-4. 
tor was substituted for that of supervisor, which Benoal - 
was abolished.* 

In order to counteract the improper influence 
which the banyans of the collectors were desirous 
of assuming, and also to provide against the loss 
of rents and the confusion of accounts, from the 
frequent removal of collectors, a fixed dewan was 
to be nominated by the Board, and joined with the 
collector in superintending the revenues. 

To give the farmer the greatest security for the 
rights and profits of his farm, and encouragement to 
those who were solicitous of obtaining farms to make 
proposals adequate to their real value, neither the 
collector nor dewan was to send sepoys, peons, or 
any other persons with authority, into the lands, 
but when indispensably requisite for the mainte- 
nance of the peace, or the immediate execution of 
justice, where the authority of the farmer should 
be insufficient. On such occasions, a warrant in 
writing was to be issued under the public seal, 
signed by the collector, and recorded in the judi- 
cial proceedings. 

To free the ryot from undue exactions on the 
part of the farmer, the latter was not to receive 


* The Court of Directors, in a letter of the 7th April 1773, 
written previously to their receipt of the plan laid down in 
these regulations, expressed their opinion that the institution of 
supervisors not having answered the intended purpose, must be 
withdrawn, and some plan framed for ascertaining the exact 
value of the lands. 

2 e2 


1772-4. larger rents from the ryots than the amount 
Bengal. stipulated in the pottahs, on any pretence whatso- 
ever. On the conviction of any party guilty of 
such extortion, he was to pay back the sum so 
taken from the ryot, in addition to a penalty to 
be paid to the Circar equal to the same amount. 
In the event of a repetition of such exaction, the 
lease was to be annulled. 

It having been a practice of ancient and almost 
universal standing, for further claims to be made 
by the mootsuddees and officers of Government 
on the farmer who had improved his land, where- 
by he was led to conceal the profits of his farm, 
or to rack his tenants for the means of purchasing 
exemption from such claims, the Board resolved, 
in order to relieve him from such exactions, that 
his payment to Government should be ascertained 
and established ; the same to be expressed in 
the doul, or rent-roll, delivered with the lease, 
beyond which no demand was to be made. It was 
determined that no matouts, or other assessments, 
or tax, should be imposed upon the ryots, and 
that those imposts, which were of late estab- 
lishment, should be carefully scrutinized and 
abolished, at the discretion of the Committee of 
Circuit, if found to be oppressive or pernicious. 

This regulation was framed to give ease and 
security both to the farmer and the ryot ; it hav- 
ing been the constant practice of the Mogul go- 
vernment, on the slightest pretence, to authorize 



the exaction of new taxes from the zemindars and 1772-4. 
farmers, all view of the remote consequences, Bengal - 
which might arise out of such impolitic conduct, 
being lost sight of in the desire of immediate gain. 
The principals being thus taxed, had a fair pre- 
text to indemnify themselves from their tenants ; 
and they never failed to extort a much greater 
amount than they themselves had been obliged 
to pay. Every dependent agent in the collec- 
tions, likewise, endeavoured on such occasions to 
get his share of the embezzlement ; and thus the 
poor ryot was disheartened, and often disabled 
from attending to the culture of his lands, which 
required money as well as labour to bring them 
to perfection. 

The trivial presents, which the custom of the 
East had established as debts of vassalage and 
the rights of office or power, were felt in them- 
selves to be undeserving of notice, had they ex- 
tended no further ; but the same practice ran 
through every degree of subordination, till the 
amount became a mighty grievance, and, like 
other levies on the principals, was reclaimed with 
accumulated extortion from the ryots. It was 
therefore determined that all nuzzars* and sala- 
mies,| usually presented at the first interview as 
marks of subjection and respect, should be totally 


* A present to a superior, 
f A present on receiving an appointment. 


1772-4,. discontinued, as well to the superior servants of 
Bengal. ^ c om p anv an d the collectors, as to the zemin- 
dars, farmers, and other officers. 

The collector was forbid, on pain of dismission 
from his office, to be concerned directly or indi- 
rectly in the purchase or sale of grain. 

No peshcar, banyan, or other servant, of what- 
ever denomination, of the collector, or relation or 
dependent of any such servant, was to be allowed 
to farm lands, or directly or indirectly to hold 
a concern in any farm, or to be security for any 

In the event of collusion, the farms were to 
be relet, or made khass.* No European was per- 
mitted directly or indirectly to hold lands in any 
part of the country. 

Had the collector, or any person who partook 
of his authority, been permitted to be farmers of 
the country, it was felt that no other persons 
would dare to be their competitors ; neither was 
it fitting that the servants of the Company should 
be dealers with their masters. The collectors 
were, in fact, to be checks on the farmers, against 
whom the ryots were to look to the collector for 

The Committee of Circuit were enjoined to de- 
vise some means for preventing the practice of 


* Lands, the rents of which are not leased, but collected im- 
mediately by the officers of Government. 


lending money on exorbitant usury ; it having m2-£. 
been frequently found that the ryots had been Bengal - 
thereby involved in irretrievable ruin, and that the 
farmer's dues, which were in fact the property of 
the state, had become that of money-lenders. 

In order to relieve the farmer from the neces- 
sity of borrowing money for the payment of his 
kists or instalments, the kistbundee for the ensu- 
ing leases were to be so regulated that the kists 
might be made payable at the usual periods of 
the harvest, proportionate to the estimated quan- 
tity and value of the crops, and as local circum- 
stances might direct. Such an arrangement was 
felt to be one of the most salutary expedients 
which could be adopted, whether for the ease of 
the farmer and the ryot, for the security of the 
revenue, or for the prevention of oppression. The 
rate of interest was stated to have been rarely less 
than three per cent, per mensem, which, with 
monthly accumulations, and fees to agents, 
banyans, peons, and sepoys, entailed certain ruin 
on the borrower. 

In framing these regulations, the Council were 
governed by an anxious desire to adapt them to 
the manners and understanding of the people, and 
the exigencies of the country, adhering as closely 
as possible to the ancient usages and institutions. 

To enable the committee to fix the necessary 
establishments in each district for its safeguard 
and protection, and for preserving its peace and 



1772-4. tranquillity, accurate accounts of the ckakaran* 
Bengal. lands were to be prepared, with a statement of the 
purposes for which they had been allotted, and of 
the number of land-servants necessary to be re- 
tained for that service. 

The Board of Revenue at Moorshedabad was 
abolished, and the business of the collections in all 
its branches put under the management of the 
members of the administration at the Presidency. 
After these preliminary steps had been deter- 
mined upon, the lands of Kishnagur were put up 
to public auction, and a final settlement was made 
for five years, on an accumulating increase. 

During the course of the sale, the Rajah of the 
place gave in proposals for farming the whole 
district; upon which the Council remarked, "when 
it can be done with propriety, the entrusting the 
collections of the districts to the hereditary zemin- 
dars would be a measure we should be very willing 
to adopt, as we believe that the people would be 
treated with more tenderness, the rents more 
improved, and the cultivation more likely to be 
encouraged; the zemindar less liable to failure or 
deficiencies than the farmer, from the perpetual 
interest which the former hath in the country, and 


* The ckakaran lands were portions of ground allotted to 
certain of the inhabitants, whose office it was to preserve the 
peace of the country and to guard it against common robbers ; 
it was an establishment common to all parts of India, and was 
of very ancient standing. 


because his inheritance cannot be removed, and it 1772-4.. 
would be improbable he would risk the loss of it, Benoal - 
by eloping from his district, which is too fre- 
quently practised by a farmer when he is hard 
pressed for the payment of his balances, and as 
frequently pre-determined when he receives his 

The administration of Justice was intimately Judicial sys- 
connected with the collection of the revenues. 
The Council observed, " that the regular course 
of justice was suspended every- where; but every 
man exercised it who had the power of compelling 
others to submit to his decisions." 

The plan for administering justice comprised 
the establishment in each district of the two courts 
of judicature ; the one by the name of Mofussil 
Dewanny Adawlut, or Provincial Court of De- 
wanny, for the cognizance of civil causes ; the 
other by the name of Phousdarry Adawlut, or 
Court of Phousdarry, for the trials of all crimes 
and misdemeanors. 

The collector of each district was to preside on 
the part of the Company, in their quality of King's 
Dewan, attended by the provincial Dewan, ap- 
pointed by the President and Council. 

In the Phousdarry Adawlut, the cauzee and 
muftee of the district, and two moolavies, were to 
sit to expound the law, the collector attending to 
the proceedings, so far as to see that all necessary 



1772-4. evidence was summoned and examined, and that 
bengal. ^ ue we jgk t was allowed to their testimony, and 
that the decision passed in a fair and impartial 

Two superior courts of justice were to be estab- 
lished at the chief seat of Government, the one 
under the denomination of Dewanny Sudder Adaw- 
lut, and the other the Nizamut Sudder Adawlut. 
They were to form courts of appeal from those of 
the provinces. The President, with two members 
of the Council, was to preside in the Dewanny 
Adawlut, attended by the dewan of the khalsa, 
the head canongoes, and other officers of the cut- 
cherry; in the absence of the President, a third 
member of Council was to sit. 

In the Nizamut Adawlut, a chief officer of 
justice was to preside by the title of Daroga 
Adawlut, assisted by the chief cauzee, the chief 
muftee, and three moolavies. 

In forming the plan, the Committee confined 
themselves with scrupulous exactness to the con- 
stitutional forms of judicature already established, 
which were considered to be calculated for expe- 
diting the course of justice, and best adapted to 
the understanding of the people. It was observed 
that the general principle of all despotic govern- 
ments is, that every degree of power shall be 
simple and undivided, and it necessarily intro- 
duced itself into the courts of justice; in proof of 
which a review of the different officers of justice 



instituted in the provinces was given by the 1772-4.. 
Council.* Bengal ' 


* " 15th August, 1772. — 1. The Nazim, as supreme magis- 
trate, presides personally in the trials of capital offenders, and 
holds a court every Sunday, called the Roy Adawlut. 

" 2. The Dewan is the supposed magistrate for the decision 
of such causes as relate to real estates or propriety in land, but 
seldom exercises this authority in person. 

" 3. The Daroga Adawlut is properly the deputy of the 
Nazim. He is the judge of all matters of property, excepting 
claims of land and inheritance. He also takes cognizance of 
quarrels, frays, and abusive names. 

" 4«. The Daroga Adawlut Dewannee, or deputy of the 
Dewan, is the judge of property in lands. 

" 5. The Phoujdar is the officer of the place, the judge of 
all crimes not capital ; the proofs of these last are taken before 
him and reported to the Nazim for his judgment and sentence 
upon them. 

" 6. The Cauzee is the judge of all claims of inheritance or 
succession. He also performs the ceremonies of weddings, 
circumcision, and funerals. 

" 7. The Mohtesil has cognizance of drunkenness and of 
the vending of spirituous liquors and intoxicating drugs, and 
the examination of false weights and measures. 

" 8. The Muftee is the expounder of the law. Memoran- 
dum. — The Cauzee is assisted by the Muftee and Mohtesil in his 
court; after hearing the parties and evidences, the Muftee 
writes the fetwa, or the law applicable to the case in question, 
and the Cauzee pronounces judgment accordingly. If either 
the Cauzee or Mohtesil disapprove of the fetwa, the cause is 
referred to the Nazim, who summons the ijlass, or general 
assembly, consisting of the Cauzee, Muftee, Mohtesil, the Daro- 
gas of the Adawlut, the Molavies, and all the learned in the 
law, to meet and decide upon it. Their decision is final. 

n 9. The Canoongoes are the registers of the lands. They 
have no authority, but causes of land are often referred to them 






Measures for 



The peace of the country had for some years 
been disturbed by bands of decoits, who not 
only infested the high roads, but often plundered 
whole villages, burning the houses and murdering 
the inhabitants. The secrecy of their haunts, and 
the wild state of the districts more immediately 
subject to their incursions, enabled them to elude 
every attempt to bring them to justice. It was 
therefore determined, that each criminal, on con- 
viction, should be carried to the village to which 
he belonged and there executed, as a terror and 
example to others. The village was to be fined 
according to the enormity of the crime, and each 
inhabitant according to his substance. The family 
of the criminal were to become slaves of the state, 
to be disposed of for the general benefit and con- 
venience of the people, according to the discretion 
of Government. 

The Council were quite alive to the unfavour- 
able impression which this sanction to slavery 
was calculated to make upon their countrymen in 
England, with reference to the practice in the 
American colonies ; but, they observed, slaves in 


for decision by the Nazim or Dewan, or Daroga of the De- 

" 10. The Cut wall is the peace-officer of the night, depen- 
dent on the Poujdarree.' 

From this list it will appear that there are properly three 
courts for the decision of civil causes (the canongoes being 
only made arbitrators by reference from the other courts), and 
one for the police and criminal matters. 


India are treated as the children of the families 1772-4. 
to which they belong, and often acquire a much Bengal. 
happier state by their slavery than they could 
have hoped for by the enjoyment of their liberty ; 
so that, in effect, the apparent rigour exercised on 
the children of convicted robbers, would be no 
more than a change of condition, by which they 
would be no sufferers, though it would operate as 
a warning to others, and afforded the only effectual 
means of dissipating the desperate and aban- 
doned societies which subsisted on the distress of 
the general community.* 

The excesses of the decoits increased to so 
great an extent, that the subject was brought spe- 
cially under the consideration of the Council, in 
the month of April, when it was determined, at 
the recommendation of the President, to appoint 
foujdarsf to the several stations, for the protection 
of the inhabitants, for the detection and appre- 
hension of public robbers within their respective 
districts, and for transmitting constant intelligence 
of all matters relating to the peace of the country, 
to the Presidency. The zemindars, farmers, and 
other officers of the collections, were enjoined to 
afford them all possible assistance in the discharge 
of their duty, and to obey such orders as they 
might have occasion to issue for that purpose. 


* Proceedings, Committee Circuit, 1773. 
f The Foujdar, a military officer who is charged with the 
care of the police in his district. 




A zemindar 
arrested at the 
suit of an Eu- 

The farmers were to make over the land-servants 
allowed for their respective districts, who were to 
be under the absolute command of the foujdars. 
The chakaran* lands (allotted for the maintenance 
of the thanadars-f and pykesj), which had been 
resumed and included in the jumma, were to be 
again separated and applied to their original de- 
sign ; the jurisdiction of each foujdar was to be 
ascertained by proper limits, he being made re- 
sponsible for the maintenance of peace within it.§ 
The first instance of a zemindar being arrested, 
at the suit of an European, took place in the streets 
of Calcutta, on the person of Rajah Kissen Chund, 
of Nuddeah, who had been summoned to attend 
at the khalsa upon the affairs of his district. The 
Council feeling that great detriment would be 
occasioned to the revenues of the district by 
the confinement of the zemindar, and that it might 
be followed up by other cases, gave bail for Kissen 
Chund, and caused a proclamation to be issued, 
forbidding all the Company's servants, under 
penalty of dismission, from lending money to the 
zemindars under any pretence whatever: also 
requiring all persons having claims against them 
to recur to the ordinary courts of the country for 


* Fide note, page 424. 

t Thanadab, the officer in charge of a thana, or police- 


I Pyke, a watchman. 

§ Revenue Consultations, 19th April 1774. 


justice.* The matter was referred to the law- 17724.. 
officers by the Court of Directors, who, under the Bkngai - 
advice of counsel, directed that the action should 
be discharged. The proceedings of the Govern- 
ment were fully approved, and the standing order 
confirmed, which prohibited Company's servants, 
on pain of dismissal, from lending money to the 
zemindars, or from having any dealings with them, 
and declaring that those who had claims must go 
to the courts of the country for redress. 

The establishments which had been formed for 1774. 
the police of the town of Calcutta having been f^ eoiCai ' 
found insufficient to remedy all disorders incident 
to so populous a city, and the Foujdarry Adawlut 
being greatly impeded in the proper exercise of 
its functions, from the continued appeals made by 
European inhabitants in complaints against their 
servants, by which crimes of the " most atrocious 
natures," often remained for months unexamined, 
and the jails crowded with prisoners, the Council 
determined upon sundry regulations, calculated to 
ease the Foujdarry Adawlut in the cognizance of 
complaints of masters against their servants for 
venial offences, and to introduce better order in 
the police of the settlement, by vesting a degree 
of authority in such matters in the superintendence 
of the police of the settlement. The subject was 

* Letter from Bengal, 10th November 1773. 


1774. submitted to the consideration of the inhabitants, 
Bengal. w h 0j selecting from their body a committee of 
twelve, agreed to every measure that could tend 
to give them efficacy.* Among the regulations 
one demands to be specially noticed, as it was to 
abolish in future the right of slavery. f 


* Consultations, May 17th 1774, and Letter 18th October 

t Utk May 1774.—" That from the 1st day of July 1774, 
no person shall be allowed to buy or sell a slave who is not such 
already by former legal purchase, and any cauzee who shall 
grant any cawbawla after that date for the sale of any slave 
whatever, shall be dismissed from his employment, and such 
cawbawla shall be invalid." 

The practice of stealing children from their parents and sell- 
ing them for slaves, had long prevailed in the country, and had 
greatly increased since the establishment of the English govern- 
ment. The influence derived from the English name, to every 
man whose birth, language, or even habit, entitled him to assume 
a share in its privileges ; the neglect of the judicious precau- 
tions established by the ancient law of the country, which 
required that no slave shall be sold without a cawbawla, or deed 
attested by the cauzee, signifying the place of the child's abode, 
and in the first purchase, its parent's names, the names of the 
seller and purchaser, and a minute description of the persons of 
both, had greatly facilitated this savage commerce, by which 
numbers of children were conveyed out of the country in Dutch, 
but more especially French vessels, and many lives of infants 
destroyed by the attempts to secrete them from the notice of the 
magistrate. There appeared to be no probable way of remedy- 
ing this calamitous evil, but that of striking at the root of it, 
and abolishing the right of slavery altogether, excepting such 
cases to which the authority of government could not reach ; 
such, for example, as laws in being have allowed, and where 
slaves have become a first property by purchase, and antecedent 



The instructions from the Court of Directors in 1774.. 
April 1773,* combined with the little success 

l-iii iii i • • Revenue 6ys- 

which had attended the revenue settlement, arising tem revised. 
in a great measure from the bidders having been 
induced by eagerness of competition to make 
higher offers than the country could bear, in con- 
sequence of which many of them failed in the per- 
formance of their engagements to a considerable 
amount, led to a change of system in the early 
part of 1774. 

The European collectors were recalled, but the 
districts that formed the existing collectorships 
were to remain. Each district was to be super- 
intended by a dewan or aumil, excepting such as 
had been let entire to the zemindar or farmer. 

The administration of civil justice, which had 
been entrusted to the collector, was transferred to 
the aumil, from whom an appeal lay to the Pro- 
vincial Council, and from thence, under certain 
restrictions, to the Sudder Dewanny, or the Go- 
vernor in Council. 

A Committee of Revenue was formed at the 
Presidency, consisting of two members of the 
board and three senior servants, who were to 


to the proposed prohibition. The opinions of the most credita- 
ble of the Musselmen and Hindoo inhabitants were taken upon 
the subject: they condemned the authorized usage of selling 
slaves, as repugnant to the particular precepts both of the Koran 
and Shastras, oppressive to the people, and injurious to the gene- 
ral welfare of the country. 

# Vide page 419. 

VOL. I. 2 F 


1774. superintend and control the whole of the revenue 
branch, subject to the superior Council. Occa- 
sional commissioners were to be appointed to visit 
such districts as might require a local investiga- 
tion. They were to be taken from the Company's 
servants, not by seniority, but by the free choice 
of the board, and were to be qualified for the trust 
by a knowledge of the Persian or Hindoostanee, 
and a moderation of temper. All complaints of 
the ryots or others against the dewans, farmers, 
zemindars, or other public officers, were to be 
received and decided upon by the committee. 

To carry the plan into effect, the provinces were 
formed into six grand divisions, the first to be 
managed at Calcutta, the second at Burdwan, the 
third at Moorshedabad, the fourth at Dinagepore, 
the fifth at Dacca, the sixth at Patna, comprising 
the whole province of Bahar. The districts of 
Chittagong and Tipperah were to be maintained 
on their existing footing. 

Provincial councils were established for each 
grand division, composed of a chief and four other 
senior servants, with a secretary, a Persian trans- 
lator, an accountant, and three assistants. 

It was an article in the instructions to each of 
the Councils, that they should make particular 
enquiry concerning every talook, or other smaller 
portions of land, included within each district of 
their division, but appertaining to some other 
district, whether of their own or any other divi- 


sion. They were to ascertain the aumil's malgu- J ™. 
zary and profit of the same. All particulars were 
to be furnished to the superior council, so as to 
enable them to form a more complete and entire 
arrangement, for the better government and 
management of the collections. Whenever the 
accounts and arrangements of any division per- 
mitted it, the controul of such division was to be 
brought down to the Presidency. The Provincial 
Council was to be carried on at Calcutta, and, if 
possible, by the Committee of Revenue. 

Mr. Halhead, of the civil service, undertook, at 
the instance of the President, to make an English 
translation of the Mahomedan and Hindoo code 
of laws, it being considered that great utility 
would be experienced from such a work, not only 
to the members and superior judges of the Adaw- 
lut, but to the public at large. The work was 
completed in March 1775, and dedicated by its 
author to Mr. Hastings, to whom he ascribed both 
the result of the execution, and the entire merit 
of the original plan. 

The province of Cooch Bahar, which forms the Cooch Bahar> 
boundary of a large portion of the Rungpore dis- 
trict, devolved to the Company, with the rest of 
Bengal, 1765. Tn 1772, the Cooch Rajah, then 
a minor, offered, through his minister, Nazu Deo, 
to place his province under the dominion of the 
Bengal government, and to pay to them half its 

2 f 2 revenues, 




774. revenues, on condition of the Company's aiding 
in expelling the Boutanneans, who, headed by 
their chief, the Deb Rajah, had suddenly invaded 
his country. 

The Company's district of Rungpore having 
been frequently exposed to the incursions of the 
Boutanneans, by which the revenues drawn from 
it had been rendered very precarious, the Council 
resolved to detach a force to effect the intended 
object. The result being successful, the Boutan 
Rajah applied to the Teshoo Lama to mediate 
between him and the Company. 

The Lama accordingly addressed the following 
letter to Mr. Hastings : 

u The Taishooa Lama at Boutan to the Governor : — 
(Received 29th March 1774.) 

" The affairs of this quarter in every respect flourish, and 
I am night and day employed for the increase of your hap- 
piness and prosperity. Having been informed by travellers 
from your quarter of your exalted fame and reputation, my 
heart, like the blossom of spring, abounds with gaiety, 
gladness, and joy. Praise ! that the star of your fortune is 
in its ascension — Praise ! that happiness and ease are the 
surrounding attendants of myself and family. Neither to 
molest or persecute is my aim : it is even the characteristic 
of my sect to deprive ourselves of the necessary refreshments 
of sleep, should an injury be done to a single individual. 
But in justice and humanity I am informed you surpass us. 
May you ever adorn the seat of j ustice and power, that man- 
kind may, under the shadow of your bosom, enjoy the 
blessings of happiness and ease ! By your favour I am the 
Raja and Lama of this country, and rule over numbers of 



subjects, a particular with which you have no doubt been 1774. 

acquainted by travellers from these parts. I have been re- Bengal. 
peatedly informed that you have been engaged in hostilities 
against the Dah Terrea, to which, it is said, the Dah's own 
criminal conduct in committing ravages and other outrages 
on your frontiers, has given rise. As he is of a rude and 
ignorant race, past times are not destitute of instances of the 
like misconduct which his own avarice tempted him to 
commit : it is not unlikely that he has now resumed those 
instances, and the ravages and plunder which he may have 
committed on the skirts of the Bengal and Bahar provinces 
have given you provocation to send your vindictive army 
against him ; however, his party has been defeated ; many 
of his people have been killed, three forts have been wrested 
from him, and he has met with the punishment he deserved, 
and it is as evident as the sun, your army has been victo- 
rious; and that if you had been desirous of it, you might 
in the space of two days have entirely extirpated him, for 
he had not power to resist your efforts. But I now take 
upon me to be his mediator, and to represent to you, that as 
the said Dah Terrea is dependent upon the Dalee Lama 
who rules this country with unlimited sway (but on account 
of his being in his minority, the charge of the government 
and administration for the present is committed to me), 
should you persist in offering further molestation to the 
DarTs country, it will irritate both the Lama and all his 
subjects against you. Therefore, from a regard to our re- 
ligion and customs, I request you will cease all hostilities 
against him, and in doing this you will confer the greatest 
favour and friendship upon me. I have reprimanded the 
Dah for his past conduct, and I have admonished him to 
desist from his evil practices in future, and to be submissive 
to you in all matters. I am persuaded that he will conform 
to the advice which I have given him, and it will be neces- 


* 77 *« sary that you treat him with compassion. As to my part, 

I am but a faqueer, and it is the custom of my sect, with 
the rosary in our hands, to pray for the welfare of mankind 
and the peace and happiness of the inhabitants of this 
country ; and I do now, with my head uncovered, entreat 
that you cease all hostilities against the Dah in future. It 
would be needless to add to the length of this letter, as the 
bearer of it, who is a Goseign, will represent to you all 
particulars, and it is hoped that you will comply therewith. 
In this country, worship of the Almighty is the profession 
of all. We poor creatures are in nothing equal to you. 
Having a few things in hand I send them to you by way of 
remembrance, and I hope for your acceptance of them." 

A treaty, consisting of ten articles, was agreed 
to on the 25th April, by which certain lands were 
restored to the Deb Rajah, who was to pay to the 
Company for the possession of the Chitta Cotta 
province a tribute of five Tauzan horses : the Bo ti- 
tan merchants being allowed the privilege of send- 
ing a caravan annually to Rungpore. 

Mr. Hastings being of opinion that the commu- 
nication from the Teshoo Lama opened a fit op- 
portunity for effecting an intercourse between Thi- 
bet and Bengal, proposed that Mr. Bogle, of whose 
merits and services the Council entertained a high 
opinion, should be deputed to the Lama, with a 
letter and suitable presents, accompanied by a 
sample of goods, with the view of ascertaining 
what were most likely to become the objects of 

The Council fully concurring in the views of 



the president, Mr. Bogie proceeded on the mission 1774. 
in June, together with Mr. Hamilton, an assistant- Bengai - 

The province of Bengal had suffered very se- 
verely from a lawless banditti, consisting of synas- 
sies or faquirs. Under pretence of religious 
pilgrimage, they had been accustomed to tra- 
verse the chief part of the province, begging, 
stealing, and plundering wherever they went. 
Having defeated and cut off a party of the sepoys 
sent against them, with their commander, Captain 
Thomas, who had been solely engaged in making 
the collections, a separate corps was formed pur- 
posely for the frontiers, in the hope of entirely 
suppressing these marauders, a provision being 
inserted in the treaty by which they were consi- 
dered as enemies to the English. The Deb Rajah 
engaged not to allow any of them to take shelter 
in his district. 



The Parliamentary inquiry, which commenced 
in 1772, terminated in the act of the 13 Geo. Ill, 
cap. 16, commonly called the regulating act, it 
being the first legislative measure which pre- 
scribed any defined system for the conduct of the 
Company's affairs. 

The twenty-four Directors had hitherto been 
chosen annually. Some of the abuses had been 
partially checked, by a Proprietor being required 
before voting, to declare upon oath, that he had 
possessed his qualification of £500 stock for six 
months, yet the evils resulting from the limited 
duration of a Director's office to one year were 
strongly felt. The practice tended to weaken the 
authority of the Court, and to produce instability 
in the Councils of the Company. It was accord- 
ingly provided, that a Director should retain office 
for four years, at the expiration of which term he 
was to retire from the direction for a year, when 
he was eligible for re-election. This restriction 
appears to have originated in a by-law, passed 
in the year 1734, which ordained that no mem- 
ber should retain his seat for a longer term 
than four years successively. No party who had 



held office in India was eligible to be chosen 
a Director until he had resided two years in 
England. The qualification was enlarged from 
£500 to £1,000 stock, and the period for which 
the party intending to vote must have held his 
qualification before voting was extended from six 
to twelve months. The privilege of voting being 
increased in proportion to the stock held by any 
one party.* 

A new oath was prescribed by the act, to be 
taken by the Directors. It was framed with refer- 
ence to the combined affairs of the Company, and 
especially to their varied commercial operations. 
The same oath is continued at the present time, 
but appears to be wholly inapplicable to the 
altered duties of a Director. 

With regard to India, a Governor-general and 
four Councillors were appointed for Bengal, each 
individual to continue in office for the term of five 
years. The presidencies of Madras and Bombay 
were henceforth required to obey the orders of 
the supreme Government in Bengal. The Direc- 
tors were to forward to one of his Majesty's Se- 

* £1,000 Stock gives 1 Vote 
3,000 do. ... 2 Votes 
6,000 do. ... 3 — 
10,000 do ... 4 — 
Which latter number is the maximum allowed to be given by 
any one Proprietor. £500 stock enables its possessor to take 
part in debates in General Court, but not to vote, either by 
shew of hands, or on a division, or ballot. 13 Geo. III. cap. 63. 



cretaries of State and to the Lords of the Trea- 
sury, copies of all advices, within fourteen days 
after their receipt by the Court, which related to 
the civil and military affairs and government of 
India. From this period, therefore, his Majesty's 
Ministers were empowered to become fully in- 
formed upon all the political concerns of the 
Company in India, but possessed no power to in- 
terfere with or to control the measures of the ex- 
ecutive body at home, or the orders and instruc- 
tions which they might see fit to issue for the 
conduct of their servants abroad. 
1773. Warren Hastings, Esq. was nominated, in the 

Act, Governor-general, and Lieutenant-general 
Clavering, the Honourable George Monson, 
Richard Barwell, and Philip Francis, Esqrs. 

On a vacancy occurring in the office of Gover- 
nor-general, the Councillor next in rank was to 
succeed, and in the event of a vacancy in the 
Council, the Directors might appoint a successor 
for the remainder of the five years, subject to his 
Majesty's approbation. From and after the ex- 
piration of five years the power of nominating and 
removing the succeeding Governor-general and 
Council was vested in the Directors. The pro- 
visions relating to the Governor-general and 
Council were to commence from the time that 
public proclamation should be made of their arri- 
val in Bengal. 


Regulating Act. 


His Majesty was authorized to establish a Su- m3 - 
preme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, to consist 
of a chief justice and three puisne judges. The 
jurisdiction of the Court was to extend to all Bri- 
tish subjects in Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa : and 
appeals might be made to it from the Provincial 

The commerce was specially reserved to the 
Company. No British subject was to trade in 
salt, betel-nut, or tobacco. No person was to 
take more than twelve per cent, interest per an- 
num on loan of money. All offences and misde- 
meanors tried in the Supreme Court were to be 
decided by a jury of British subjects. In cases 
of indictment or information laid in the Court of 
King's Bench in England, writs of mandamus 
might be issued, requiring the judges abroad and 
other persons to examine witnesses, &c. 

Rules, ordinances, and regulations, when mad e 
by the Governor-general in Council, were to be 
sent home. 

Another Act was passed at the same time, 
granting to the Company, on loan, £1,400,000 
for their relief.* 

The public were to forego, for a time, all parti- 
cipation in the territorial profits. The dividend 
to the proprietors was fixed at six per cent, per 
annum. The Company were not to accept bills 
drawn on them beyond a certain amount, and 


* 13 Geo. III. cap. 94. 


1773. were to continue to export annually £380,837 of 
Reg^dngAct. British merchandize. 
Company peti- The Company petitioned both Houses of Parlia- 

tion against it. . 

ment against the provisions of the new Act ; ob- 
jecting especially to the clauses by which the 
Crown or Parliament appointed officers to con- 
duct the whole of the civil and military affairs, 
whilst the directing power over them, without 
penalty for disobedience of orders, was pretended 
to be left in the Company. They represented 
that the object of the intended court of judicature 
would be defeated, as the persons who might be 
guilty of acts of oppression were exempted from 
the jurisdiction of the court, and consequently 
left without restraint ; and the remedy of the writ 
of habeas corpus, whereby men might know of what 
crime they were accused, being wholly omitted, 
it legalized the tyranny of a double govern- 
ment, without responsibility any-where. All 
opposition to the bill, however, proved inef- 

The Proprietors, when the Act was laid before 
them in July, resolved that no orders or instruc- 
tions should be sent out by the Directors until 
they had been submitted to and approved by a 
General Court specially summoned for the pur- 
Proprietors pose. To maintain their privileges, and not out 
point General of disrespect to General Clavering, they further 
commander- 61 ' resolved " that they did not choose to appoint 
him their commander-in-chief in India." 



The instructions proposed by the Directors to im - 
be sent to Bengal, for carrying into effect the court of du 
provisions of the Act, were laid before the Pro- KEfiS" 8 
prietors on the 7th December. The consider- 
ation was postponed, and a committee consisting p^Hetort ap- 
of seven Proprietors, the Duke of Richmond ^^S£^ 
being chairman, was appointed to prepare coun- tl0ns * 
ter-instructions. They were printed with those 
proposed by the Directors, and taken into con- 
sideration on the 11th January 1774. On the 
25th of that month, the Directors' propositions 
were approved by the ballot, the votes in their 
favour being 406 to 308. On the 8th February, 
it was resolved by the ballot, 354 to 311, that 
it be recommended to the Directors to nomi- 
nate General Clavering commander-in-chief of 
the Company's forces in India, with an express 
provision, that, in the event of his succeeding 
as Governor-general, his appointment as com- 
mander-in-chief was immediately to cease and 

General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. New Govem- 

° ment, under 

Francis, together with Sir Elijah Impey, the new Regulating 
chief justice, Robert Chambers, Stephen Le 
Maistre, and John Hyde, Esquires, puisne 
judges, embarked at St. Helen's for their des- councillors 
tination, on the 1st April 1774. General Cla- leave England. 
vering wrote to the Court of Directors from 
Madeira, on the 24th, urging the importance of an 
adjutant-general being nominated, for the better 




[Chap. IX. 

1774. government of the Company's army, and recom- 
mending Lieutenant-colonel Thornton, of the 
King's service, for the office. He at the same 
time stated the inadequacy of his allowances as 
commander-in-chief to meet travelling and other 
expenses for equipage, horses, table, &c. when he 
took the field. 

They reached Madras on the 21st September, 
where the General inspected the military esta- 
blishment, respecting which he offered various 
remarks, observing : " I speak unwillingly of 
defects where there is so much to commend." 
He considered the fortifications to have been 
planned " with great judgment, and executed 
with equal care and attention." On the 22d, he 
accompanied the Governor, Colonel Monson, and 
Mr. Francis, on a visit to the Nabob of the 

The members of Council and the judges reached 
Kedgeree on Friday, the 14th October. The 
former announced their arrival to the President, 
who deputed the senior member to congratulate 
them on the happy termination of their voyage, 
and to assure them of the cordiality and respect 
with which they would be received by the 
Arrive at Cai- Board. On the afternoon of Wednesday, they 
landed at Calcutta, under a salute of seventeen 

The first Council was held the following day, 
although Mr. Barwell had not arrived at Calcutta 



First meeting 
of Council. 


from the provinces. A proclamation was agreed 1774. 

upon, to be published the ensuing morning by 

the sheriff, announcing that the new government, 

as constituted under the Act, commenced from the 

20th October. The Governor was requested by 

the new members to order a guard from the fort 

to attend upon the sheriff during the ceremony. 

The publication having taken place, the Court's Proclamation 

.... , . r , « of New Go- 

mstructions, with their general letter 01 the 30th vemment. 
March 1774, were read to the Council : they instructions 

u under New 

were addressed to Mr. Hastings, as Governor- Act. 
general, and to the Councillors named in the 

Harmony was earnestly recommended. Atten- 
tion was directed to the preservation of peace 
throughout India, and to the security of the Com- 
pany's possessions. The Council was to assemble 
twice in every week. The correspondence with 
the country powers was to be carried on by the 
Governor-general only, but all letters proposed 
to be sent by him were to be first approved in 
Council, and all letters received by him were to 
be laid before the Council at their next meeting. 

It being unlawful, under the Act, for the other 
Presidencies to declare war or make peace with 
any Indian power without the consent of the 
Supreme Government, the Council were atten- 
tively to view the general posture of the Com- 
pany's affairs respecting the country powers, their 
interests, and probable connexions with each other, 



1774. with the Company, and with other European na- 
tions, the safety and prosperity of Bengal being 
the principal object. 

A Board of Trade was nominated, to conduct 
the commercial affairs of the Company. No 
parties employed under the Governor-general in 
Council in the management of the revenues were 
to be employed by the Board. 

The military expenses having increased " to a 
degree insupportable," strict inquiry was to be 
made into the causes of such increase, and the 
charge of erecting, repairing, or completing for- 
tifications, barracks, and all public buildings, in 
Bengal and its dependencies, was limited in 
future to £100,000 per annum. The reduction of 
the bond debt, in Bengal, was pressed upon the 
attention of the Council. The system of letting 
the lands and farms of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, 
on lease, was approved, and, in the event of any 
lands falling in, the Council were to advertise 
for proposals to relet them. Inquiry was to be 
made into past oppressions, and regulations were 
to be framed for preventing future abuses. On 
the establishment of" the Supreme Court, all aid 
was to be given to the judges, and a court-house, 
with proper officers, to be provided. 

Disputes having frequently occurred, on account 
of the powers claimed by the Governor and the 
military commander-in-chief, under their commis- 
sions, which caused injury to the public service, 



a commission was issued to the Governor-gene- 1774,. 
ral, constituting him Governor and Commander- Bengal. 
in-chief of the fortress and garrison of Fort Wil- 
liam and town of Calcutta. 

Lieutenant-general Clavering was granted a 
commission as Commander-in-chief of all the 
Company's forces in India. 

If the Governor-general and Council should at 
any time think proper to issue orders, under their 
hands, or by their secretary, to any officer in the 
army, thereby suspending or superseding the spe- 
cific commands of the Governor-general or mili- 
tary Commander-in-chief, such orders were to be 
implicitly obeyed. 

The military Commander-in-chief was not to 
leave Bengal without the sanction of the Gover- 
nor-general and Council. 

Whenever the Commander-in-chief in India 
was at either of the other Presidencies, he was to 
have a seat as second in council ; but to vote only 
on political and military affairs. 

His allowances, as Commander-in-chief, were 
fixed at £6,000 per annum, and his salary, as a 
Member of Council, at £10,000 per annum. Co- 
pies of the commission to Mr. Hastings and to 
Lieutenant-general Clavering, and of the Court's 
instructions, were to be forthwith published in 
general orders at Fort William. 

In addition to the foregoing instructions, a gene- 
ral letter was addressed to the Governor-general 

vol. 1. 2 g and 


1774. and Council. The measures of the President 
Bengal. regarding Cooch Bahar were approved, although 
the Court by no means departed from the rule 
laid down, of confining their views to the posses- 
sions thus acquired. Whenever General Clavering 
could be spared from his duties in Bengal, he was 
to proceed to Madras and Bombay, to review the 
troops, and to make a strict examination into the 
state of the Company's armies at each Presidency, 
and to assist the Presidents and Councils in form- 
ing such regulations as might be necessary for 
rendering the forces respectable. 

A revision of the coinage was to be made in 
Bengal, a treatise thereon, by Sir James Stuart, 
Bart., being forwarded for the information of the 

At the instance of Mr. Hastings, the Council 

adjourned from Thursday, the 20th October, until 

the Monday following ; on which day, Mr. Bar- 

Fuii Council well having arrived at the presidency, the oaths 

meet,and oaths c _ . . , , , 

administered, of office were administered, and the commissions 
to the Governor-general and the Commander-in- 
chief promulgated. 
Minute by Mr. In order to place the leading branches of the 
toSS»<& public affairs before the Council, a minute was 

public affairs. j 1 • i 


* This gentlemen composed, for the use of the East-India 
Company, in 1772, a work entitled, " The Principles of Money 
applied to the present State of Bengal." It was printed, and 
the Court presented him with a ring, of one hundred guineas 
value, with a suitable inscription, in testimony of their sense of 
this service. 


delivered in by Mr. Hastings, reviewing the reve- m4< - 
nue system and the political state of the provinces. 
It was brought under consideration in the Secret 
Department. Mr. Hastings informed the Council 
that, in submitting his views, he by no means 
intended to preclude any member from offering 
such points for immediate deliberation as might 
be judged to claim a preference, and proffered his 
assistance upon any matter in which his com- 
munications might be considered useful. He 
stated that his desire had been to promote the 
Company's interests, and that he had full confi- 
dence in the dispositions of his colleagues to co- 
operate and unite in promoting the general welfare 
of the country. 

He proposed to retain the revenue system as 
recently framed. 

The Company's political connexion with the 
Vizier was pointed out, and they were informed 
that the original design of the Rohilla enterprise 
furnished the first occasion of the Governor-gene- 
ral meeting with his Highness. The advantages 
anticipated from that measure were an addition 
of territory and wealth to the Vizier, in which 
the Company would participate — the complete 
defence of his Highness' dominions — the employ- 
ment of a third part of the Company's troops 
free of charge, and the forced retreat of the Mah- 
rattas within their ancient territories. The Mogul, 
or King, was a mere cypher, residing at Delhi ; 

2 g 2 the 


1774.. the Company's connexion with him had ceased, 
Bengal. anc [ ^ was tfie Governor-general's wish that it 
might never be renewed. The Bengal tribute 
had been withheld from his Majesty since his 
desertion of the Company and his union with 
their enemies, the Mahrattas, amongst whom dis- 
sensions had existed for the preceding twelve 
council allow The Council resolved to allow a full operation 

full operation 

to Revenue to the revenue system, as proposed in the minute 

system. ... . TT , 

of Mr. Hastings. 
Differ on i policy On discussing the treaty of Benares, and the 

of Rohilla war. ° 

policy of the Rohilla expedition, General Claver- 
ing called for the production of the Governor- 
general's original correspondence with the resi- 
dent at the court of the Vizier. Mr. Hastings, 
although fully prepared to lay before the Board 
all his correspondence which related to public 
affairs, declined to communicate such parts as 
might not be proper for public inspection. The 
caii for Mr. majority of the Council, nevertheless, resolved 

Hastings' pri- J J 

vate correspon- that all ought to be produced. Mr. Hastings 
recorded his reasons for adhering to his original 
determination to refuse it; stating, that it con- 
tained unreserved and confidential communica- 
tions given to the Resident, as his immediately 
recognized agent, appointed on his own responsi- 
bility, with the sanction of the late Board, and in 
strict conformity with the practice which had pre- 
vailed from 1757 to the dissolution of the late 



Government. He declared that, if those engage- 1774.. 
ments were legal, no power on earth could au- Bengal. 
thorize him to violate them, still less was he 
prepared to submit to an tx post facto law, of so 
sudden a formation. 

This determination led the majority of the Majorityrecaii 

J J Mr. Middleton. 

Council, at the same meeting, to recall Mr. Mid- 
dleton, the Governor-general's agent with the 
Vizier, and to require him to bring down the 
whole of his correspondence, as essential to 
a right judgment on the course of policy ob- 
served towards the Vizier, as well as of the Com- 
pany's existing engagements with his Excellency. 
They also supported this requisition for the cor- 
respondence by appealing to the principles of 
policy which they knew had been established by 
" the highest authority," meaning Parliament ; 
and they further resolved, that Colonel Cham- Appoint Col. 
pion, or the commanding officer, should be ap- am P 10n - 
pointed to negociate with the Vizier, in the room 
of Mr. Middleton. Whilst thus removing the 
Governor-general's own agent, without one single 
proof, or even suspicion of misconduct, they pro- 
fessed to compliment Mr. Hastings, by proposing 
that he should nominate a substitute;* but, at 
the same moment, they required that he should 
apprize the Vizier of the recall of Mr. Middleton, 
and of the appointment of the commanding officer 


* Consultations, 26th October 1774. 




Proposed in- 
structions to 
Col. Cham- 

to negociate with his Highness. Two days only 
had elapsed between the first meeting of the 
new Council and the adoption of these decided 
proceedings towards the Governor-general, and 
before even the original official correspondence 
with Colonel Champion and Mr. Middleton had 
been communicated to the Council. That cor- 
respondence was not completed until the fol- 
lowing Friday, when General Clavering, Colo- 
nel Monson, and Mr. Francis recorded their pro- 
test against the determination of Mr. Hastings to 
withhold the confidential communications that 
had passed between himself and the Resident. 
A series of propositions was at the same time sub- 
mitted by the General, as the basis of instruc- 
tions to Colonel Champion, who commanded the 
troops with the Vizier. He was to repeat the de- 
mand on the Vizier for the forty lacs, to require 
payments of such sums as might be due, and to 
call upon his Excellency to liquidate all unsettled 
accounts. If the whole of the forty lacs could 
not be obtained, not less than twenty lacs was to 
be taken, and the rest to be paid within twelve 
months. He was to protest against any refusal, 
on the part of the Vizier, to these terms, and to 
withdraw the brigade within fourteen days from 
the receipt of the instructions. Whenever the 
Vizier should have paid the money, the troops 
were to be withdrawn within the province of 
Oude, and unless his Highness required them for 



defence of Corah and Allahabad, they were to be 1774 " 

i , TV 1 Bengal. 

cantoned at Dinapore. 

These propositions remained for the considera- 
tion of the members until the next Council, 
which was to be held on Monday, the 31st Octo- 
ber. On that day, a letter was received from 
Colonel Champion, announcing that terms of 
peace had been agreed upon between the Vizier 
and Fizula Cawn, the Rohilla chief. 

Notwithstanding this intelligence, the majority 
persevered in sending instructions to Colonel 
Champion, framed in accordance with the pre- 
ceding propositions, which, after further discus- 
sion, had been finally adopted. Mr. Hastings 225m? s b2£ 
and Mr. Barwell protested, in the strongest man- we ? p™ test 

1 ° against in- 

ner, against the abrupt removal of the brigade, etructions. 

which, as the first act of the new Government, 
would be received as a declaration that the en- 
gagements with the Vizier were no longer exist- 
ing. They suggested that, at all events, an ex- 
tension of time might be given the Vizier, and 
that the Council should await the result of an ap- 
plication to him before coming to a final determi- 
nation. They urged that the measure was one 
of the past administration, and on the point 
of being concluded ; that, under such circum- 
stances, they considered the members of the new 
Government might have been satisfied with re- 
cording their disapproval of the enterprize, and 
after the completion of the service, by withhold- 


H74.. ing their consent to the employment of the troops 
Bengal. beyond the bounds which they judged to be pre- 
scribed by the orders of the Court. That, instead 
of removing Mr. Middleton, his appointment 
might have been confirmed, transferring the 
transactions with him from the superintendence 
of the Governor-general only, to the Council at 
large. Expostulation was vain. The letter to 
Colonel Champion was despatched the very day 
on which one was received from him, acquainting 
the Council that the army had countermarched ; 
— that he purposed to station the brigade at Ram- 
gaut, and that he should himself forthwith pro- 
ceed to the Presidency, leaving the command 
Minute of Mr. in the hands of Colonel Galliez. It was on this 

Francis. . , ,_. ^ . 

occasion that Mr. rrancis recorded a minute, con- 
taining the following passage: "The conditions 
which the late Government had unfortunately 
suffered the Vizier to prescribe to them, con- 
sidered merely as the terms of a contract (for I 
do not mean to insist upon the danger and dis- 
honour of submitting to such conditions), are so 
loose and unguarded, that they will always fur- 
nish him with a pretence for deferring payment of 
the forty lacs. For my own part, I do not scruple 
to declare, that if this extravagant engagement 
had been ratified in all the forms by which public 
treaties are usually authenticated, but none of 
which have been observed upon the present occa- 
sion, I should reject it with disdain." 



The spirit thus evinced at the opening of the 1774. 
new Government, indicated too clearly that the Bengal. 
majority of the Council partook of the prejudice 
that had been raised in England against both 
the Court of Directors and their governments in 

The Council felt it to be their duty to make a 
report of their proceedings under the new system 
to the Home authorities. Strangers to the spirit of 
harmony which the Court had enjoined, they 
found it impossible to agree upon any general 
despatch. It was accordingly resolved that each 
party should address the Court separately ; that 
the joint letter should be simply one of advice, 
comprehending resolutions and facts, and refer- 
ring to the consultations for the reasonings on 
both sides. 

General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. 
Francis wrote to the Court on the 30th November. 
After enumerating the various points connected 
with the Rohilla war, and reiterating the objections 
which they entertained to the course of policy 
pursued by Mr. Hastings, they entered into a state- 
ment of some matters of a personal, yet frivolous 
nature, which indicated that they had laboured 
under a jaundiced feeling from the first moment of 
their landing at Calcutta. They complained that 
proper honours had not been paid to them on that 
occasion ; that a sufficient salute had not been 
fired ; that the troops were not drawn out ; that 



i™. they were received at Mr. Hastings' private 
Bengal. house instead of in the Council Chamber ; that 
there was an unnecessary delay in issuing the 
new commissions ; that the proclamation of the 
new Government was not made with sufficient 
parade ; that it was at the desire of the Governor- 
general that the Council adjourned until the 
Monday, and that, during this interval, they were 
left " in the most anxious, not to say disgraceful 
situation." That public report soon informed 
them of the nature of the enterprizes in which 
the Company's troops were engaged, and that 
their alarm and anxiety at the intelligence they 
had acquired could only be equalled by that 
which they were persuaded the Court must have 
felt on first receiving it. They then drew a pic- 
ture of the state in which they found the country 
on their arrival. 

" We saw your provinces stripped of one-third 
of their defence ; the lines most repeatedly and 
peremptorily drawn by you for the conduct of 
your servants towards the princes of Hindostan 
manifestly transgressed ; in short, the whole 
system of your wise and pacific policy completely 
overturned ; the summa rerum of all things being 
at stake." 

In another letter, dated the same day, they 
stated that they had refused all nuzzars and pre- 
sents. They noticed the Governor-general's 
reasons for accepting and paying nuzzars into the 



Company's treasury, and added, " Mr. Barwell 1774. 
has also given his reasons for accepting and not Bengai - 
paying them over to the Company." They then 
dwelt upon the example of moderation and eco- 
nomy which they themselves had set to the ser- 
vice, declaring " that they had no conception of 
the degree in which such an example was 
wanted." They further stated that, in acceding 
to the appointment of Captain Brooke to an inde- 
pendent command under the Vizier, they yielded 
their own strict judgment to considerations of 
personal respect to Mr. Hastings ; " adding, 
" that, to have recalled that officer, could not fail 
to have been attended with personal pain to the 
Governor- general . " 

It was expecting too much of the Governor- 
general that he should attach any weight to this 
profession, the same parties having, without any 
knowledge of the facts, and with no one fault to 
allege against Mr. Middleton, after taking their 
seats in Council but a few hours, resolved to recall 
him in the most abrupt manner from his station, 
as the confidential agent of the Governor-general 
at the Court of the same prince. Mr. Hastings 
entered into a general defence of his conduct. 
He pointed out the reductions he had effected in 
the bond debt since the close of 1773, and the 
increased amount of investment sent home ; he 
adverted to the military operations under Govern- 
ment, and urged that every expedition had been 


defends his 


1774. concerted for services of solid utility, and calcu- 
Bengal. i a ted for precise terminations : he stated that the 
Mr. Hastings campaign of 1773 had the recovery of Corah for 
its immediate object, and the application of its 
means to the relief of the Company's wants. The 
last campaign, he observed, had terminated with the 
most complete success. The district of Ramghur 
had been brought into subjection, and the reve- 
nues increased. The Jungle Territory, a tract of 
country unknown, and considered inaccessible, 
serving as a receptacle for robbers, had been re- 
duced, and their further ravages prevented. The 
Cooch Bahar expedition had produced all the con- 
templated effects, in the settlement of that country, 
and the dispersion of the Tynassies. Painful as 
he felt his situation, and unsuitable as it was to 
his disposition, it was his determined resolution to 
retain the place which the Court's favour originally 
assigned to him, and which the Legislature had so 
honourably confirmed. 

He inferred that Parliament had intended some 
peculiar power should attach to the office of Go- 
vernor-general, above the other members ; but he 
felt that a majority had been formed against him, 
not by an accidental occurrence, but by a decided 
and permanent combination, which called for 
some remedy. He nevertheless declared that he 
would not quit the ground on which he stood ; he 
appealed to a large portion of his life passed in the 
Company's service, and rested his cause solely on 



the measures which had drawn him into his pre- 1774. 
sent vindication. Measures adopted solely for the Bengal 
Company's benefit and the national honour, and 
he knew that they had been productive of both to 
the utmost reach of his wishes. Should the Court 
judge him fit to be continued in his station, he 
expressed his readiness to devote the best years of 
his life to the Company's service. If, on the other 
hand, either the Court, or a higher authority, 
should decree his yielding his post to another, he 
should submit without a murmur, conscious of his 
own integrity, but retaining the sense of gratitude 
which he felt for the obligation already conferred 
upon him. 

He then referred to the several orders of the 
Court, as to political and military operations in 
India. He considered the principle primarily 
insisted upon by the home authorities, was to 
avoid the extension of territory. He construed 
their orders of June 1769, as confining their views 
to the security of the Company's possessions, and 
those of their allies, but, nevertheless, as contem- 
plating the possible necessity for carrying the 
Company's arms in certain cases beyond those 
bounds, and of becoming parties in war. The 
Mahrattas might have been permitted to take pos- 
session of Corah and Allahabad, to have allied 
themselves with the Rohillas, or to have established 
themselves in Rohilcund, and to have lain with 
their armies unmolested on the borders of the open 



1774 - country of the Company's ally, till they had com- 
engal. pi e ted every preparation for invading the territory 
of the Vizier, and that such a forbearance might 
have been vindicated by an appeal to the letter of 
the Court's instructions ; but he felt that it was 
not by such cold and prudential caution, that the 
British empire in Bengal had been acquired or 
could be maintained. Nor did he feel that it would, 
in point of fact have been in conformity with the 
spirit and intent of such instructions. With regard 
to the non-production of his private and confidential 
correspondence, he stated that it had been carried 
on in the same mode as had been observed by his 
predecessors, and that he considered it w 7 ould have 
been a dishonourable breach of confidence to have 
placed it on the records. In proof of this, it was 
shewn that, in the correspondence between Colo- 
nel Smith and the Secret Committee, in 1766, 
when, by some mistake, a private letter from that 
officer to Lord Clive was only alluded to in a 
letter from the Select Committee, Colonel Smith 
observed: "I have been made accountable to a 
public board for a confidential discussion of facts, 
which ought never to have transpired beyond the 
breast of the right honourable person to whom, 
and to whom alone, they were addressed." 

Adverting to the complaint on the score of 
want of ceremony and respect in the reception 
of the new members of Council at Calcutta, he 
declared that he felt ashamed to occupy the 




attention of the Court on charges of so trifling 1774. 
a nature ; he remarked, "lam averse to parade B 
myself, and have never used it." Higher honours 
had been paid to them than had ever been paid 
to persons of their rank in the country, as high 
even as had been paid to Lord Clive, or Mr. 
Vansittart, when they came as governors; — 
men, whose names must ever stand foremost 
in the memories of the people of India, and who 
merited as much from their employers as any 
who have filled, or are likely to fill, that sta- 
tion. He had written to the new councillors on 
their arrival at Madras to bespeak their confidence. 
The senior member at Calcutta had been deputed 
to meet them on landing at Kedgeree ; one of the 
Governor-general's immediate staff had been sent 
down, as a mark of personal respect, to attend 
them ; and the whole of the late Council assembled 
at his house to receive them. 

He had desired time to determine whether he 
would accept the new government, or conclude 
his services to the Company with the close of the 
late administration, before the commissions were 
published ; and Mr. Barwell being absent from 
Calcutta, he had requested that the meeting might 
be postponed from the Friday till the following 
Monday : this request having been acquiesced in 
by the Council, he did not expect it would have 
been urged as an objectionable part of his con- 



1774. Mr. Barwell did not join the Council till the 

Bengal. Monday, when he expressed his full concurrence in 
the sentiments of Mr. Hastings, and declared that 
he foresaw no possible advantage to the nation, or 
to the Company, in debating the propriety of past 
measures, which had been submitted long since to 
the decision of the Directors, and for which nei- 
ther himself, nor any of the existing administra- 
tion, the Governor-general excepted, were held 

observation on As the war against the Rohillas was stated by 

differences as to t 

the Rohiiiawar. the majority of the Council to have subjected the 
native inhabitants to unheard-of cruelties, inflicted 
by the orders of the Vizier, and to have been 
countenanced in a degree by the Governor-gene- 
ral, although there was proof from the records* 
to the contrary; Mr. Hastings proposed that 
sundry queries should be submitted to the com- 
manding and other field officers who had served 
in the campaign, in order to ascertain the facts. 
He at the same time signified to the Board his 
readiness to submit the whole of his correspond- 
ence with Colonel Champion, provided that officer 
gave his consent. From replies to certain queries 
approved and put by the Board, it appeared that 
the Rohillas were not the original inhabitants, but 
a tribe of AfFghans, of the Mussleman faith, fol- 
lowing no other profession than that of arms ; 

* Vide pages 406, 407. 


that the Gentoo inhabitants were not oppressed ; 1774. 
that the Ryots were as much cherished as ever Bek<u 
they were under any former government ; that 
they returned to their plough immediately after 
the passage of the army, and appeared to be " as 
happy as ever;" and that the charges against the 
Vizier of outrages on the families of the Rohillas 
were proved to have been utterly without foun- 

The animus which governed the proceeding may 
be gathered from the following question, put by 
General Clavering to Colonel Leslie, passing by 
the extraordinary fact of such a question being 
proposed by a military man, and a member of 
the Government. " Did the army consider the 
war in which they were engaged as one that did 
honour to the British name, or such as disgraced 
it?" The Colonel replied, "I cannot answer for 
the opinion of others upon this subject." It was 
attempted to be shewn that the Rohillas were 
an ill-used people, deserving of every commise- 
ration ; it was, nevertheless, admitted, that they 
had broken faith with the Vizier, and that want 
of sincerity was part of their character. It was 
declared, that when Ally Mahomed was their 
head, he prevailed upon the Almorah Rajah and 
the other hill chiefs to assist him in his rebellion 
against the Mogul Mahomed Sha. They did so 
witn 20,000 men. Their inferiority to the King's 
army on his approach, induced them to prevail on 

vol. i. 2 h the 


1774. the Almorah Rajah to admit them into his 
country, which would afford them the greatest 
security : the access to it was by a narrow pass, 
where a small body of troops could defend them- 
selves against a numerous army. They were 
admitted, and continued there until an invasion 
of the Mahrattas drew off the forces of the Mogul. 
Immediately on their retiring, the Rohillas seized 
the country of the Almorah Rajah, their ally, and 
carried away captive their handsomest women. 
It was stated to be a proverb in Hindostan, that 
" a Rohilla prays with one hand, and robs with 
the other."* 

Another question arose on the appointment of 
an Adjutant-general, in which the majority op- 
posed Mr. Hastings. Major Hanney had been 
nominated by the former Government. General 
Clavering declared that he would not employ him 
in that station, as he considered the late Govern- 
ment, under the by-laws of the Company, to have . 
been precluded from making such an appoint- 
ment. It will be recollected that the General, in 
writing from Madeira on his passage out, had re- 
commended a King's officer. f 

The offer of a sum of seven lacs of rupees by 
the Vizier, as a present to the troops engaged in 
the Rohilla war, was urged by the majority as an 
additional cause of complaint against the late 


* Consultations, Dec. 1774. f Vide page 445. 


Government. The majority considered all pre- 1774. 
sents to be prohibited by the Act of Parliament, 
but agreed to receive the sum in deposit, observ- 
ing : " We cannot but lament the difficult and 
distressing situation in which the measures of the 
late Administration have reduced the present 
Government, by placing us between the strict 
prohibition of the law, and the earnest desires of 
the army : the unhappy consequences of an offen- 
sive war undertaken on such principles as that 
against the Rohillas, must operate in every direc- 
tion. An innocent nation, without offence, stript 
of their property : one part of the conquering 
army engrosses the whole plunder, the other is 
disgusted ; languor and despondency succeed ; 
and when, at last, our troops return home, the 
difficulty of deciding between their claims and 
the prohibition of the law, is thrown upon the 
civil government ! " 

The Vizier returned to Fyzabad in the middle 
of December, from whence Mr. Middleton, the 
Resident at Oude, wrote the Governor-general 
on the 21st of that month, that fifteen lacs had 
been received by him from the Vizier, and for- 
warded to Calcutta. The health of his High- 
ness confined him wholly to his private apart- 
ments ; it rapidly declined, and on the 26th 
January 1777, he expired, at six in the evening. 
His eldest legitimate son, Meerza Aumanee, 
supported by the Supreme Council, succeeded 

2 h 2 to 


1775-6 to the musnud, under the title of Ausuf-ul- 

Bengal. t\ 


As the Council considered that the old treaty 
ceased at the death of the late Vizier, they resolved 
that a new defensive treaty should be entered into. 
After a tedious negociation, in the course of which 
Ausuf-ul-Dowlah evinced the most fluctuating dis- 
position, seven articles were agreed upon on the 
21st of May. The Company thereby acquired the 
exclusive right to the rich zemindary of Benares, 
without being encumbered with any new engage- 
ments or loading them with additional expenses. 
The revenues amounted to Rupees 1,23,72,656, 
and were to be paid by the Rajah Cheyte Sing in 
monthly payments, as a net tribute, without ren- 
dering any accounts of his collections, or being 
allowed to enter any claim for deductions. The 
Nabob agreed to pay 2,60,000 rupees per month 
for a brigade of the Company's troops, which was 
an addition of half a lac to the former allowance. 
The important point was gained of his consenting 
to dismiss all foreigners from his service, and his 
engaging to deliver up Cossim Ally Cawn and 
Sumroo, the assassin of the English at Patna, 
should they ever fall into his hands. The pro- 
vinces of Corah and Allahabad were to remain 
with the Nabob.* Instructions were sent to 


* The treaty was concluded by Mr. Bristow, whose conduct 
on the occasion was highly applauded by the Supreme Govern- 


Colonel Galliez to continue with the brigade in 1775. 
the territories of Oude for their defence, and for Bengal - 
that of the provinces of Corah and Allahabad, 
should the Nabob require it. Hostilities had for 
some time been carried on between NudjifT Cawn, 
the Rajpoots, and Jauts, and they had alternately 
sought an alliance with the Nabob in support of 
their respective views. The latter, jealous of 
NudjifF Cawn, had evinced a disposition to join 
his opponents. The grand object of the Council 
was to preserve a good understanding between 
the Vizier and the other neighbouring powers, for 
which purpose Mr. Bristow was ordered to take 
the necessary measures, and at the same time to 
urge the Nabob to attend to the good government 
and improvement of his dominions. 

The Directors conveyed the expression of their views of the 
sentiments on various parts of Mr. Hastings' ad- tors on pro- 
ministration, which had been subjects of animad- council! ° 
version and difference with the new Council. 
They considered, that although the provinces of 
Corah and Allahabad were reserved to the King 
by the treaty of 1765, his Majesty did not ac- 
quire a right to resign them into the hands of 
the Company's enemies. As the Vizier was the 
first officer in the empire under his Majesty, 
and the territories in question were formerly 
held by him, it was an act of great propriety to 
commit them again to his management, when the 



1775. King could not hold them in his immediate con- 
trol. The King having withdrawn himself from 
the Company's protection, abandoning the posses- 
sions assigned to him, and given every counte- 
nance to the depredations of the Mahrattas, the 
Court entirely approved of the payment of his 
tribute being withheld. The principle of self- 
preservation warranted it, as the possessions would 
necessarily have fallen into the hands of the Mah- 
rattas. Upon these grounds the Directors con- 
firmed the treaty of Benares, and directed that no 
further remittance should be made to the King. 
The highest opinion was entertained of the honour 
and integrity of Mr. Hastings, nor did a suspicion 
exist that any corrupt motive led to the agreement 
with the Vizier. In a political point of view, the 
Court did not consider the engagements with the 
Vizier to be unexceptionable ; but they trusted 
that his Excellency would now be enabled to repel 
the Mahrattas, should they repeat their incur- 
sions. The Vizier formed a barrier to the Com- 
pany's possessions. The Directors viewed the 
treaty of Allahabad as compelling the Govern- 
ment to aid the Vizier in defending his domi- 
nions, but not in the prosecution of new con- 
quests, or any warlike enterprises; all advance 
beyond his frontier being absolutely prohibited, 
as also the employment of the Company's troops, 
on any pretence whatever, in such an under- 



The conduct of the Rohilla chiefs in refusing to 1775. 
fulfil their solemn engagements with the Vizier, Bengal, 
was admitted to have drawn upon them the cala- 
mities which they had suffered : but the Court 
deprecated the aid given by the Government with 
the Company's forces as founded on wrong policy, 
as being contrary to the instructions of the Court 
frequently repeated for keeping their troops within 
the provinces, and to the general principles they 
desired to maintain. The recall of the troops 
was consistent with the orders from home ; but 
the hasty manner of recalling them, as deter- 
mined upon by the majority in Council, the 
Court considered might have been attended with 
inconvenience to the public service. 

With regard to the correspondence of Mr. Hast- 
ings, the Court were of opinion that the whole 
should have been laid before the Council. They 
observed with regret the differences that had arisen 
amongst the members, and they trusted that a 
sense of duty would animate them to an exertion 
of their utmost abilities, in the conduct of the 
important affairs entrusted to them, with the spirit 
of harmony and cordiality so essential to the wel- 
fare of the public interests, and to the prosperity 
of the Company.* 

As to the donation of seven lacs by the Vizier 
to the troops, the Court disapproved generally of 
all presents to the army, but intimated that in 

* Letter to Bengal, March 1775. 







the instance in question they should endeavour 
to obtain an Act of Parliament for the grant ; 
and they entirely sanctioned the maintenance of 
a brigade of the Company's troops in the Oude 

Whilst the Court of Directors were inculcating 
a spirit of cordiality amongst the members of the 
S upreme Government, events were occurring abroad 
that strengthened the existing feelings of hostility, 
and widened the breach between the Governor- 
general and the majority of the Council. 

Nundcomar, whose name will be familiar to the 
reader, fully alive to the differences which existed 
in the Council, and aware of the party composing 
the majority, waited upon Mr. Francis, on the 
morning of the 11th of March, scarcely four 
months after the inauguration of the new Govern- 
ment, and delivered to him a letter, addressed to 
the Governor and Council, "demanding of him, 
as a duty belonging to his office, as a councillor 
of the state, to lay it before the Board." Mr. 
Francis presented the letter at the meeting of the 
Council that day, and stated that he conceived he 
could not, consistently with his duty, refuse to 
receive such a letter ; that he was unacquainted 
with its contents ; that it was given to him pub- 
licly, in the presence of a considerable number of 
persons; and that* the Rajah's request was inter- 
preted to him by three different persons. 

The letter from Nundcomar recapitulated va- 


rious circumstances connected with his being 1775 
deprived of the office of Naib Dewan, and the 
substitution of Mahomed Reza Cawn, who, he 
alleged, had been guilty of acts of great violence 
and oppression. That when Mr. Hastings first 
arrived from Madras, he promised him his sup- 
port ; but when the new councillors entered upon 
their office, he changed towards him, and debarred 
him his presence. That Mahomed Reza Cawn, 
being charged with extensive embezzlement, pro- 
posed making a present of ten lacs of rupees to 
Mr. Hastings, and two to himself; and that Mr. 
Hastings, on being acquainted therewith, made 
answer, " that he could not suspend an inquiry 
into the misappropriation of crores of rupees for 
such a sum, and that it was proper the Govern- 
ment money should be recovered ;" he likewise 
stated that he was informed Mahomed Reza Cawn 
should not be released from confinement till the 
points in question were decided upon : never- 
theless, a few days afterwards, Mahomed Reza 
Cawn was set at liberty, the inquiry into his 
conduct dropped, justice not being done in the 
the complaints that had been preferred against 

In addition to this statement, Nundcomar spe- 
cified particulars, which comprised presents he 
asserted to have been made to Mr. Hastings, 
amounting to 3,54,105 rupees. 

Mr. Francis, on being asked by Mr. Hastings, 



1775. whether he was previously acquainted with Nund- 
comar's intention of bringing such charges, replied, 
that though he was totally unacquainted with the 
contents of the paper, he did apprehend it con- 
tained some charge against him. 

On the 13th of March, Nundcomar addressed 
the secretary, transmitting a letter which he re- 
quested might be delivered to the Governor and 
Council, and opened in their presence. It referred 
to his letter of the 11th, and expressed his desire 
to appear before the Council in support of its con- 
tents ; he stated that he had no other object than 
the prosperity of the Company, and that he had 
warned former Governments that, by their imme- 
diate attention to private emoluments, the country 
would suffer ; that Mr. Hastings, till he had been 
informed by him of the state of affairs, was well 
pleased with him ; but that, when he had acquired 
this knowledge, he no longer consulted him, and 
instead of his patron, became his enemy, and 
acted as such ; becoming inattentive to the welfare 
of the country, and the enrichment of the state, 
making his own private emolument the rule of his 

On the proposition of Colonel Monson, sup- 
ported by General Clavering and Mr. Francis, it 
was determined that Nundcomar should be called 
before the Council, to give proofs of the charge 
against the Governor-general. Mr. Hastings de- 
clared that he would not sit at the Board in the 




character of a criminal, neither would he acknow- 1775. 
Jedge the members of the Board to be his judges, B 
but looked upon them as his accusers ; he left it 
to them, if they pleased, to form a committee for 
the investigation ; he resolved not to sit in Council 
to hear men, collected from the dregs of the peo- 
ple, give evidence, at the dictation of Nundcomar, 
against his character and conduct. Mr. Barwell 
objected to Nundcomar's being called in, and con- 
tended that the Supreme Court of Judicature was 
the proper tribunal for examining and deciding 
upon points of such a nature. He also suggested 
that Nundcomar should be informed that he was 
expected to support whatever he might set forth 
as evidence adduced before one of the judges ; and 
that, unless he did so, his complaint would be 
rejected as a libel. The proposition for his appear- 
ance before the Board was, nevertheless, perse- 
vered in, for the extraordinary purpose of enabling 
them to judge whether the nature of the evidence 
he had to produce would be thought sufficient. 
Mr. Hastings quitted the Council. Mr. Barwell 
remarked, that it was then five o'clock ; that he 
considered the Council to be dissolved ; and un- 
less he received a summons, according to the 
usual form, he should not partake in the debates : 
he then withdrew. The majority determined that 
the Governor-general had no right to dissolve the 
Board, and that an adjournment could only be 
carried by a majority. The chair was accord- 


1775. ingly taken by General Clavering. Nundcornar 
was called in, and being asked what he had to 
offer in support of his charges, he replied, " I am 
not a man officiously to make complaints, but 
when I perceived my character, which is as dear 
to me as life, hurt by the Governor's receiving into 
his presence two natives of low repute, and deny- 
ing me admittance, I thought it incumbent upon 
me to write what I have. Every thing is con- 
tained in the letter I have given in." Being 
called upon for other papers, to which he alluded, 
he delivered in a letter, purporting to be written 
to him by Munny Begum, in which she adverted 
to the favour that had been conferred upon her, 
by appointing her guardian ; and, after considering 
what would be a proper offer, stating that she sent 
a proposal of one lac as an acknowledgment, that 
the Governor answered, " that he had not done 
what he had from motives of private advantage, 
but for the satisfaction of his employers. I 
pressed the present exceedingly upon him, when 
he at last said, ' very well ; if you do think pro- 
per to make a present, give two lacs, as Maharajah 
(meaning you) engaged ; otherwise, do as you 
please, you are your own mistress.' " One lac 
was stated to have been provided by Munny 
Begum, the other by a draft on Nundcornar. The 
letter concluded in the following terms : " for the 
future, let us take care, in the conduct of our 
affairs, to consult and plan beforehand, that when we 



are called upon, no difference may appear in our 1775. 
representations and answers, and that I may conform 
to whatever you may say ; let nothing of the secret 
part of these transactions be known to the Go- 
vernor or the gentlemen of Council, or any others. 
The proverb is, ' a word to the wise.'" 

A comparison being made of the hand-writing 
in the letter from the Munny Begum delivered 
in by Nundcomar, with one received from her at 
that time and produced by Sir John D'Oyley, 
from the Persian Department, it appeared, that the 
seal was that of the Munny Begum, but that the 
hand- writing was not the same in the two letters. 
The majority observed, that the letter to Nundco- 
mar had been written a year and a-half before, 
and the letter produced by Sir John D'Oyley 
within a few days. In either case there was suffi- 
cient proof of the delinquency of Nundcomar. If 
its authenticity be admitted, its contents establish 
the fact of a conspiracy on the part of the Begum 
and Nundcomar. If its authenticity be denied, 
the guilt of forgery against Nundcomar is placed 
beyond doubt. 

Nundcomar being desirous to withdraw, the 
secretary was sent to inform Mr. Hastings, and 
to request that he would resume the chair. The 
Governor-general refused to acknowledge the mes- 
sage as coming from the Council: he returned his 
compliments to General Clavering, Mr. Monson, 
and Mr. Francis, but declined to meet them at so 



1775. late an hour of the night, intimating that when he 
Bengal. cou id summon a full Board (Mr. Barwell being in 
the country), he would do so, and hoped to have 
the honour of meeting them in the Revenue De- 
partment the following day. 

Upon such evidence as had been adduced, and 
without any further deliberation, the majority re- 
solved that the sum of three lacs forty thousand 
rupees had been received by the Governor-gene- 
ral ; that of right it belonged to the Company, 
and that Mr. Hastings should be required to pay 
into the Company's treasury the amount for their 
use. The secretary forthwith waited upon Mr. 
Hastings with the resolution ; but he refused to 
receive it as a resolution of the Board, and would 
give no answer to it. Upon which the three 
members ordered, that the whole of the papers 
should be placed in the hands of the Company's 
attorney, for the purpose of counsel's opinion 
being taken as to the best mode of proceeding to 
recover the amount from Mr. Hastings. 

On the 11th of April, Nundcomar was accused 
before the Judges of the Supreme Court, of being 
party to a conspiracy against the Governor-gene- 
ral and others, by making a man against his will 
write a false petition injurious to their characters, 
and sign an account of bribes pretended to be 
given to them. On the following day, an exami- 
nation took place before the Judges, which lasted 
from eleven in the morning until eleven at night. 



Mr. Hastings having been required to attend a 1775. 
meeting of the Judges at Sir Elijah Impey's, ad- Bengal 
dressed a letter to General Clavering, requesting 
that he would take the chair with the other mem- 
bers and despatch the current business. The 
General having proceeded with what required im- 
mediate attention, the three members wrote Mr. 
Hastings from the council-chamber. They ad- 
verted to a letter from Mr. Fowke, relative to the 
conspiracy, and as they conceived that an inves- 
tigation, which could demand the absence of the 
Governor and Mr. Barwell from Council, must be 
of great moment, if not interesting to the safety 
of the state, they determined to continue in Coun- 
cil till apprized of the issue. Mr. Hastings re- 
plied that, having received a letter from the Chief 
Justice and the Judges, the preceding night, in- 
forming him that a charge had been exhibited 
upon oath before them against Messrs. Fowke, 
Rajah Nundcomar, and Radachurn, for a con- 
spiracy against himself and others, he and Mr. 
Barwell, to whom a like notification was made, had 
attended, and that he was sorry the three members 
should have thought it necessary to remain in 
Council until informed of a subject and issue of 
an inquiry, which they would perceive had no re- 
lation to the safety of the state, nor to any circum- 
stance that required their present attention.* 


* Consultations, 19th April 1775. 


1775. The circumstances appeared so well attested, 

Bengal. ^^ ^ ere was thought sufficient reason for bind- 
ing over the accused to take their trial at the fol- 
lowing assizes. Notwithstanding these facts, 
General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. 
Francis, accompanied by Mr. Fowke and others, 
went to Nundcomar's house, on a formal visit to 
him, an honour which he had never before re- 
ceived from those gentlemen, or from any previ- 
ous administration. They also appealed to public 
opinion in support of their judgment against the 
Governor-general. Mr. Hastings, in the follow- 
ing terms, desired to submit his case to that cri- 
terion. Writing to the Directors, he observed : 

" It is in your power, honourable Sirs, to obtain 
that opinion. There are many men in England of 
unquestionable knowledge and integrity, who have 
been eye-witness of all the transactions of this 
government in the short interval in which I had 
the chief direction of it. There are many hundred 
in England, who have correspondents in Bengal, 
from whom they have received successive advices 
of those transactions, and opinions of the authors 
of them. I solemnly make my appeal to these 
concurring testimonies, and if, in justice to your 
Honourable Court, by whom I was chosen for the 
high station which I have lately filled, by whom 
my conduct has been applauded, and through 
whom I have obtained the distinguished honour 
assigned me by the Legislature itself, in my no- 


raination to fill the first place in the new adminis- ,775 « 
tration of India, I may be allowed the liberty of Benoal * 
making so uncommon a request, I do most ear- 
nestly entreat that you will be pleased to call upon 
those who, from their own knowledge or the com- 
munications of others, can contribute such infor- 
mation, to declare severally the opinions which 
they have entertained of the measures of my ad- 
ministration, the tenour of my conduct in every 
department of this government, and the effects 
which it has produced, both in conciliating the 
minds of the natives to the British government, in 
confirming your authority over the country, and in 
advancing your interest in it. From these, and 
from the testimonies of your own records, let me 
be judged, not from the malevolent declamations 
of those who, having no services of their own to 
plead, can only found their reputation on the de- 
struction of mine." 

On the 6th May, Nundcomar was committed 
to jail, in order to undergo a trial at the ensuing 
assizes, upon a charge of forgery exhibited against 
him by a merchant of Calcutta. On the 9th of 
that month, the majority of the Council deter- 
mined to displace Munny Begum from the office 
of Guardian of the Nabob, upon the alleged ground 
that she had overcharged the ministers, in her ac- 
count of arrears due from the estate. This fact 
also seemed to throw suspicions upon the truth 
of her letter to Nundcomar, before alluded to, 

vol. i. 2 i even 


1775. even if its identity had been satisfactorily estab- 
Bengal. ]j s h ec i # Rajah Goordass, lately servant to Munny 
Begum, a young man of mean abilities, a Gentoo, 
and the son of Nundcomar, was nominated to 
succeed Munny Begum in an office, the rank of 
which was scarcely inferior to the sovereignty of 
the provinces.* 

Nundcomar addressed the Council, pointing 
out the impossibility of his performing the ablu- 
tions which were essential before he partook of 
any kind of food ; and stated that, even could 
they be performed, the place itself presented an 
insurmountable obstacle, being inhabited by men 
of different religion : he therefore requested to be 

The majority of the Council resolved to send 
the message to the Chief Justice, with the re- 
presentation from Nundcomar. General Claver- 
ing observed, that the Judges were probably 
ignorant how much a close confinement might 
endanger the life of the Rajah, which was of so 
much importance to the public, for proving an 
accusation of venality against the Governor-ge- 

Mr. Hastings observed, that time could not then 

admit of his replying to the severe personal attacks 

made upon him by every member present, but that 

the attacks were not unexpected. 


* Letter from Mr. Hastings, 18th May 1775. 


Mr. Francis proposed, that the sheriff or his 1775. 
deputy should wait on the Chief Justice, on the Bengal - 
part of the Board, and desire that he would con- 
sider of granting the prisoner relief: Colonel 
Monson and General Clavering concurred in this 
proposition. Mr. Hastings dissented, as the same 
representation might be made by the prisoner 
himself, and he thought it would be improper that 
it should be conveyed to the Chief Justice through 
the authority of Government. 

Sir Elijah Impey, the Chief Justice, previously 
to receiving the message from the Council, had 
been informed of the grounds on which Nundco- 
mar refused sustenance, and had already given 
orders for his confinement being made in every 
respect as easy as possible : he had also taken 
means to ascertain from Pundits, in the presence 
of the Judge who had come with him, how far 
the grounds of caste affected his case. From their 
answers, the Judges were fully satisfied that no 
grounds existed for altering the mode of confine- 

The Pundits having been requested to inspect 
the rooms in which he was confined, viz. the two 
rooms usually occupied by the jailor, who had 
given them up to the Rajah, expressed it as their 
opinion, after examining every part, that he would 
not lose caste by eating or drinking, or perform- 
ing ablution, but that he would be obliged to per- 
form prauschit (penance). 

2 1 2 In 


1775. j n communicating this to the Council, the 

Chief Justice observed, that he had forwarded the 
result for their information, in order that he might 
not appear to be wanting in the attention which 
he should always give to any message from them, 
as well as to prevent their being deceived by im- 
proper suggestions. He assured the Board, that 
the Bench would be prepared to yield even to 
prejudices, if national and deep-rooted ; but that 
they could not suffer the pretence of religion to 
be set up for the purpose of eluding the ordinary 
course of law. He stated, that the Judges were 
happy in the opportunity of vindicating them- 
selves from any surmise of rigour, or want of 
humanity ; but they requested that, in the event 
of the Maha Rajah having any other application 
to make for relief, he should address himself im- 
mediately to the Judges, for should he continue 
to address himself to the Board, that which could, 
and would only be obtained from principles of 
justice, might have the appearance of being ob- 
tained by the means of influence and authority, 
the peculiar turn of mind of the natives being, to 
expect every thing from power and little from justice. 
The majority of the Council intimated to the 
Chief Justice, that they considered the natives of 
India as the immediate objects of their care and 
protection, and that, to guard against any decep- 
tion, they had examined the sheriff and his de- 
puty as to the contents of Nundcomar's petition. 



It however appeared, that the examination of the 1775. 
sheriff and his assistant had been confined to the BENGAr - 
legality of the commitment, the place of confine- 
ment, and the propriety of yielding obedience 
to the Judges who made out the commitment. 
The Chief Justice satisfied himself by the most 
ample inquiries, that in the general opinion, the 
Maha Rajah's scruples were mere pretence. Sir 
Elijah Impey observed, that the bounds between 
the authority of the Supreme Court and the 
Council were of too delicate a nature to be dis- 
cussed, unless there should be an absolute ne- 
cessity to determine them. He did not question 
the authority of the Board in receiving petitions, 
and he did not desire that the Rajah's petitions 
should not be received, but when received, if any 
thing was required of the Judges or the Court, 
that he was to apply directly to the Judges, adding, 
" it is not sufficient that courts of justice act inde- 
pendently, it is necessary for the good government 
of a country that they should be believed and 
known to be above all influence.* 

Nundcomar was found guilty, and suffered the Nundcomar 

^ executed. 

extreme penalty of the law. 

This event, after a lapse of fourteen years, was, 
in the course of the impeachment, on the 14th 
May 1789, dwelt upon by Mr. Burke, when he 
charged Mr. Hastings with having "murdered 


* Consultations, 16th May 1775. (Secret.) 




Further dif- 
ferences in 

Nundcomar, through the hands of Sir Elijah Im- 
pey." This virulent attack led the Marquess 
Graham to move, and the House to adopt by a 
large majority, a resolution, that those words 
ought not to have been spoken. They were cha- 
racterized as indecent, and such as could not have 
been tolerated in any other place. 

In the course of the investigation into the charges 
preferred by Nundcomar against the Governor-ge- 
neral, Cantoo Baboo, the banian of Mr. Hastings, 
was summoned to attend the Council on the 13th 
of March. When it reached him he was with the 
Govern or- general, who prevented his attendance. 
General Clavering on the 20th (Mr. Hastings be- 
ing present) submitted a motion, that Cantoo 
Baboo had been contumacious in not obeying the 
summons, and that he should now be brought 
before the Council. It was objected to, first, be- 
cause this intention had been concealed from the 
members of the Council until its meeting, and se- 
condly, that the Council had met for the special 
purpose of considering advices from the Vizier, 
which business was now proposed to be set aside, 
that personal feelings of hostility to the Governor 
might be indulged. The motion was, neverthe- 
less, carried for the attendance of the Banian, 
upon the plea that the Council was assembled on 
matters connected with the revenue, and that 
Cantoo Baboo was a farmer. Mr. Barwell de- 
fended the Banian from any intentional disrespect 



to the Board, and declared that he considered the H75. 
plea of summoning him on account of his being a ENGAr " 
farmer, was the application of a legal power to an 
illegal purpose. The Banian having attended and 
declared that he should have obeyed the sum- 
mons, had not the Governor-general interdicted 
him, withdrew. General Clavering then stated to 
the Council, that Mr. Hastings had threatened 
him for proposing to punish the Banian by putting 
him in the stocks, and he had also declared, that 
if any thing was meant personally he would make 
him answer for it with his life. He therefore 
moved that Cantoo Baboo be placed in the stocks. 
Mr. Hastings then stated, that General Claver- 
ing having before proposed that the Banian should 
be placed in the stocks, and that in the language 
of a menace, he had declared that if the General 
attempted any thing in his own person and by his 
own authority, " I would oppose it personally at 
the peril of my life, and that if he made use of law, 
I would meet him by law." General Clavering 
disavowed having intended any menace. The 
Council, on the motion of Mr. Barwell, adjourned. 

These proceedings in the Secret Department 
were followed by others in the Revenue, equally 
involving personal altercations, and attacks on the 
Governor-general. The Rannee of Burdwan hav- 
ing visited Calcutta on some affairs connected 
with the district, addressed the Government re- 


1775. questing that a khilaut might be conferred. Mr. 
Francis accordingly moved, that a day might be 
fixed for the purpose of conferring one upon her 
and upon her son also (an infant), and upon her 
servants according as it was understood to be the 
custom. Mr. Barwell remarked, that no such 
motion had ever been made since the Company's 
succession to the Dewanny. It was the invariable 
custom to hold up the head of the Government in 
that light to the natives. A voluntary compli- 
ment to a person who, like the Rannee, had no 
right to it, might be left to the pleasure of the 
Governor. The grant was however supported by 
General Clavering. Mr. Hastings felt it to be an ad- 
ditional instance to the indignities already offered 
him, and declared that he could not consent to the 
proposition. A day was nevertheless fixed, on 
which various statements in the English language 
were presented, to shew that payments had been 
made by a native on behalf of the Rajah of Burd- 
wan to Mr. Hastings of 15,000 rupees ; but when 
the accounts were demanded by the Governor- 
general in the Bengalee or Persian character, they 
were not forthcoming, and the party alleged to 
have made the payment denied all knowledge of 
such a transaction. 

The Governor-general adhering to his resolution 
to be no party in conferring the khilaut, and his 
banian having been summoned before the Council, 
and no assurance being given Mr. Hastings that 



personal severity was not intended, he dissolved 1775. 
the Council and withdrew from the Board. Bengal. 

The majority proceeded to confer the khilaut 
upon the infant Rajah, who presented anuzzarof 
nine gold mohurs. They also stated that they had 
felt called upon to interfere in the appointment of 
parties to fill the several vacancies in the provincial 
councils, as every day's experience evinced the 
necessity of endeavouring to break the formidable 
combination of reciprocal interest " which the 
Governor had established in his settlement, by 
accepting unwarrantable advantages himself and 
conniving at those which were received by the 
Company's servants. Although the degree of evi- 
dence was not such as we could entirely depend 
upon, we thought however we could scarcely 
be imposed upon by giving some credit to the 
reports voluntarily made to us by such persons as 
had neither courage to declare themselves openly 
against the late administration or privately to make 
known the true state of the Government. In the 
late proceedings of the Revenue Board, there is 
no species of peculation from which the Honour- 
able Governor-general has thought it right to 

Such were the unqualified terms in which the 
majority felt themselves authorized to record their 
sentiments on the conduct of the Governor-general. 
Astonishment will cease, that a spirit of harmony 
should have been little known amidst proceedings 



Mr. Hastings 


1775. marked by such virulent and personal feelings. 
Mr. Hastings indignantly remarked: "To talk of 
Minute. persons having the courage openly to declare them- 

selves against the late administration, is an insult 
on my situation. The fact is, that it requires 
courage in any man not to do it, it being univer- 
sally believed that the surest means to obtain the 
friendship and support of a fixed majority of the 
Council, who have the whole power of government 
in their hands, is to lodge accusations against the 
late administration, and to refuse is the surest 
means of incurring their resentment. Promises 
and threats have been used by the instruments of 
the majority, particularly by Nundcomar, to obtain 
accusations against me." * 

In alluding to various other instances in which 
the majority had evinced so decided an opposition, 
Mr. Hastings observed : " My adversaries have 
placed me in a situation peculiarly difficult and 
delicate. They have made me the butt of un- 
ceasing persecution for these seven months past, 
and have called down the whole host of informers 
from every quarter of Bengal against me. Yet 
when I have endeavoured to bring to justice, men 
charged with a conspiracy to ruin my fortune and 
blast my character with forged and libellous accu- 
sations, the same charge is retorted upon me by 
the gentlemen of the majority, although in all 


* Secret Consultations, 15th and 16th May 1775. 


their most violent attacks upon me they have made 1775. 
professions of the deepest concern for the honour Bengal - 
of the Governor-general. This is the very wanton- 
ness of oppression ; it is like putting the man to 
the rack, and exclaiming against him for struggling 
with his tormentors ; while rewards are held out 
publicly to those who will offer themselves as my 
accusers. You cannot be surprised, honourable 
sirs, at these effects. Rewards and punishments 
in the hands of good men in power, are the most 
useful instruments for producing great and virtuous 
purposes ; when employed by a wicked adminis- 
tration, they serve equally the ends of malice, 
private persecution and oppression." He dis- 
claimed the intentions which might obviously be 
ascribed to the appeals which he made to the 
Court, as solely for his own vindication. " Had 
this been the sole object which I could have at- 
tained, much as I feel for my own honour, and 
great as my ambition is, to devote my future labours 
to your service, I should long since have quitted 
the scene of trouble in which I am involved. If 
the powers of the vast government which were 
formed for the purpose of concentrating the scat- 
tered and independent parts of your empire, and 
drawing improvements from it, and proportionable 
to so extensive a combination are employed only for 
the support of a faction or for the gratification of 
private vengeance, and if in the pursuit of such 
objects, your rights are exposed to a public and 



1775. judicial reference by one part of your administra- 
Bknoal. t j Qn f or t j ie Sd fc e Q £ charging on the other the 

injuries which they may sustain in the discussion, 
it is my duty to appeal to your authority for the 
preservation of your constitution, not to your justice 
for the redress of a personal wrong.* 

Mr. Hastings The unfortunate spirit which existed in the 
favouring a pro- Supreme Council was further evinced on the 
occasion of the Governor-general presenting a 
petition from Kureem Alia, who styled himself 
vakeel from Cossim Ally Cawn, praying that 
Government would interfere in obtaining from the 
estate of a native a sum of money to which his 
master laid claim. The money in question, if be- 
longing to Cossim Ally Cawn, was to be viewed 
as the effects of an enemy, and the Governor- 
general accordingly proposed that the question 
should be referred for the opinion of the Com- 
pany's standing counsel. Colonel Monson there- 
upon asked the Governor-general, whether Kureem 
Alia, who was the servant of a proscribed nabob, 
had received his permission to come to the Presi- 
dency. Mr. Hastings replied, that he had not 
his permission, neither did he know when he 
came, but understood that he had been at Cal- 
cutta some years. Colonel Monson then asked, 
whether the Governor-general knew with whom 


* Mr. Hastings to the Court, 31st July 1775. 


be had lived, and who had subsisted him. Mr. 1775 « 
Hastings replied, that he neither knew by whom 
he had been subsisted, or where he had lived ; 
that he had already told Colonel Monson, that in 
consequence of Kureem's extreme distress, a few 
days before he had given him a small sum of 
money, but before he should answer any other 
questions, he asked to be informed of the object 
of them. Colonel Monson replied, " I beg to 
answer the Governor-general's question by another 
question to him, which is, whether he thinks a 
proscribed prince has a right to send a vakeel to 
this Presidency to reside here? My object is to 
clear the Governor-general's conduct from any 
imputation that may be thrown upon it; all the 
world knowing the connexion that formerly has 
been between the Governor-general and Cossim 
Ally Cawn. I am more particularly anxious at 
this juncture to have this matter clearly explained, 
as I perceive many of Cossim Ally Cawn's adhe- 
rents, and strenuous opposers of the English, stand 
forth as the arraigners of this administration, and 
receive many compliments and civilities from some 
of the most distinguished characters in this Presi- 
dency." Mr. Hastings declined acknowledging 
any obligations to Colonel Monson for the pro- 
fessed wish to clear his conduct from any impuT 
tation which might be thrown upon it, and stated 
that had he known the views of Colonel Monson, 
in proposing the questions, he should have felt it 



1775. inconsistent with his station to have answered 
bengal. guc k interrogatories. Kureem Alia was called 
and examined before the Council, when it ap- 
peared that the only sum he had received from 
Mr. Hastings was 100 rupees, three or four days 
previous to the present occasion. The proceeding 
was adopted to fix upon the Governor-general the 
unjustifiable act of countenancing the vakeel of a 
proscribed native of rank, and of still maintaining 
a communication with that native. Mr. Hastings 
brought the subject to the notice of the Court of 
Directors in the following terms. 

" I shall not deny the connexion which formerly 
subsisted between Cossim Ally Cawn and myself, 
whilst he was Nabob of the Provinces. It is as 
well known to the world as the little advantage 
which 1 made of it.* More I shall not say on this 


* The facts alluded to were doubtless well known to the 
European community at Calcutta at the period Mr. Hastings 
was making his representation to the Directors ; but half a cen- 
tury having elapsed since that time, it may be proper to sup- 
port this declaration by a short extract from the report made 
by Governor Vansittart, of the proceedings which took place 
with Cossim Ally Cawn. 

At a meeting of the Select Committee on the 22d March 1762, 
a proposition being made to instruct Mr. Hastings to demand 
payment of the twenty lacs stated to have been promised by 
Meer Cossim, Mr. Vansittart protested against such a measure, 
and represented the circumstances under which the idea of 
such a present arose. When the treaty was signed with Meer 
Cossim in the month of September 1761, the Nabob desired to 
make a present of twenty lacs to him and the other gentlemen 
of the Select Committee. Mr. Vansittart immediately and abso- 


subject, unwilling" to revive the remembrance of 1775. 
the calamities of his government, or to awaken Bengai - 
the unhappy dissentions which attended them. 
Although I avow the unimportance of the refuta- 
tion, I do not regret the opportunity which it has 
furnished me of setting before your eyes from this 
small sample, the distracted state of your affairs, 
and the temper and objects of the members who 
rule your present administration. From the mo- 
ment of their landing, their aim was, by personal 
indignities, to provoke me to resign my station 
and leave them uncontrolled masters of the Go- 
vernment, or by accumulated attacks to blast my 
character, and to effect the same end by alienating 
your confidence from me. These are the princi- 
ples by which they judge of almost every matter 
which comes before the Board, of whatever nature 
or importance ; and for the truth of this I dare 
appeal to any section taken at hazard out of the 
Consultations. Thus the merest trifles impede the 
course of business, and swell the minutes of the 


lutely declined it, both on behalf of himself and the other mem- 
bers of the Committee. When Jaffier Ally Cawn returned to * 
Calcutta, and Meer Cossim was proclaimed, the offer was 
repeated, and again declined; but he was informed by Mr. 
Vansittart, that if his finances admitted of it, he might present 
the Company with five lacs in aid of their operations at Madras, 
to which the Nabob immediately consented. Mr. Vansittart 
further represented, that he returned from Moorshedabad with- 
out receiving directly or indirectly one rupee from the Nabob, 
or from any other person, and that he could aver as much 
for Colonel Caillaud and Mr. Hastings, who were with him. 


1775. public proceedings ; and points of real conse- 
quence, which require the coolest and most tem- 
perate deliberation, are warped and converted to 
instruments of personal violence and the support 
of a party system. 

Prompted equally by duty and gratitude, I have 
hitherto resolved to bear my part in this distracted 
scene, and if I live I will see the end of it.' 5 * 

Oude. The affairs of Oude continued to engage much 

of the attention of the Supreme Government. The 
Nabob Vizier, suspecting the fidelity of Busheer 
Cawn, who commanded in Rohilcund, issued pri- 
vate orders for his seizure and assassination. 
Busheer narrowly escaped : he fled across the 
river, and proceeded to Agra, where he entered 
the service of Nudjiff Cawn. 

Anoop Gyre and Aumroo Gyre, the two Gos- 
sain Rajahs under whom the late Vizier had left 
the country of the Dooab, openly shook off all 
allegiance to the government of Oude, and assumed 
an independent authority. The Vizier ultimately 
effected their removal from the Dooab, without 
entering into hostilities. But the affairs of Oude 
were in such a state as to induce the Government 
to desire Mr. Bristow would bring the subject 
before the Nabob, and urge upon him the absolute 
necessity of forming such a system, and laying 

* Letter to Court, 8th Sept. 1775. 


down such regulations as would effectually 1775 
extricate him from the difficulties and em- 
barrassments occasioned by his irresolute and 
wavering conduct, and by the ambition of his 
minister Murteza Cawn. To provide means for 
meeting the subsidy on account of the brigade, 
tuncaws were obtained from him to the value of 
forty-five lacs per annum. The Nabob had re- 
course to his mother, Baboo Begum, who retained 
possession of the whole of the late Vizier's trea- 
sure. On the entreaty of many of the Vizier's 
friends, aided by the influence of the Company's 
Resident, the Begum gave him thirty lacs in ready 
money, and a release for the sum of twenty-six 
lacs, which he had previously received from 
her. This concession was made on condition 
of his engaging by treaty, ratified by Mr. Bris* 
tow, not to molest her again with demands for 

The Nabob Vizier being satisfied that the only 
means by which he could effectually discipline 
his troops and secure their fidelity, was to put 
them under European officers, applied to the 
Governor-general, with whom arrangements were 
made for that purpose.* 

Many of the officers who joined him in the Mutiny in the 
month of March, found that the sepoys cheerfully 
submitted to their commands. But the Nabob 

Vizier's troops. 


* Letter, November 1775. 
VOL. I. 2 K 


1775. having dismissed one of his corps of matchlock- 
men to whom five months' arrears were due, and his 
promise to pay them in fifteen days being consi- 
dered by the men a mere evasion, four thousand 
of them riotously assembled and marched towards 
the Nabob's camp at Etawah. He went out to 
meet them in person. Failing in his attempt to 
satisfy them, and judging that his former passive 
behaviour had given rise to the present mutiny, 
he resolved on drawing out 15,000 of his sepoys for 
the purpose of cutting the refractory corps to pieces 
if they continued to resist. Mr. Bristow remons- 
trated against such a proceeding ; but the Nabob 
was inflexible. The 15,000 regulars were drawn 
out to compel the matchlockmen to give up their 
arms and accept about 20,000 rupees in full for the 
pay due to them. The men having been reduced 
to great distress, and thinking the proffered terms 
most unreasonable, 2,500 of them stood their 
ground and supported an engagement for some 
time with great spirit — repeatedly repulsing 
their opponents : they were ultimately overcome 
by the blowing up of a tumbril, six hundred 
being killed and many wounded. Three hun- 
dred of the Nabob's sepoys were also killed, and 
some wounded. These iniquitous proceedings 
put an end to the mutiny. Ausuf-ul-Dowlah 
passed whole days in dissipation, being himself fre- 
quently intoxicated, and delighting in making his 
menials and favourites indecently drunk I He had 



little disposition for business, and always referred 1775 
to his minister Murteza Cawn, who was by no 
means favourably disposed to the Company.* 

The Nabob while at Etawah was invested with 
the office of Vizier of the empire by a gratuitous 
appointment from the King. The Governor-gene- 
ral had anticipated that his affairs would have been 
restored to a state of regularity, and his forces to 
subjection, but dissentions had been brooding in 
his court, occasioned by the enmity of the old 
servants of the Vizier against his minister. Coja 
Bussunt, an eunuch of extraordinary talents as a 
soldier, who had disciplined and commanded a 
corps of infantry, consisting of fourteen battalions, 
was the chief of the party against the minister. 
He had quarrelled with him and proceeded to 
high words in the Nabob's presence, by whom 
they were apparently reconciled. In token of 
such reconciliation, Coja Bussunt provided an en- 
tertainment for the minister, at which they both 
became intoxicated. Coja Bussunt retiring on 
pretence of sickness, had no sooner left the room 
than five or six men rushed in and assassinated the 
minister. Coja Bussunt went immediately and 
reported the murder to the Nabob, who taxed him 
with being the cause, and ordered him to be be- 
headed on the spot. These tragical events occa- 
sioned an immediate alarm at the Durbar and in the 


* Letter to Court, March 1776, 

2 k 2 


1775 camp. Saudit Ally, the Vizier's brother, suspect- 
ing that his own person was in danger, as he had 
been refused admittance to the Vizier's presence, 
mounted his horse and fled with precipitation to 
Nudjiff Cawn. Fruitless endeavours were made 
to discover the real occasion of the murder of the 
minister. Surmises attached it to the Vizier, who> 
it was stated, wanted a plea to get rid of Bussunt 
Cawn. He was thus in a moment deprived of 
his minister, his general, and his brother. During 
the time that he was negociating with the Mah- 
rattas to settle their claims to some countries west 
of the Jumna, he was carrying on the siege of 
Jhansi, then belonging to the Peishwa. Suddenly 
abandoning these objects, he quitted Etawah and 
returned to Lucknow. In this distracted state of 
affairs, Mr. Bristow was obliged to act. A part 
of the Vizier's troops marched to oppose the Mah- 
rattas. The pay of the whole was in arrear and 
no funds provided for their discharge ; his enemies 
attempted to excite his troops to mutiny ; the na- 
tive commandants, jealous at the appointment of 
European officers over them, fomented the dis- 
gust. The several battalions under British officers, 
though at a considerable distance from each 
other, at once broke out, as by a preconcerted 
arrangement, into open disobedience and defiance 
of their officers, and in rebellion against the 
prince. Their treatment of the Company's of- 
ficers was as alarming as threats and the appear- 


ance of a very seditious spirit could make it. iw& 
Some escaped privately and joined the British 
camp; others recovered their authority, and by 
means of two of the Company's battalions and other 
coercive measures, the mutinous troops were either 
reduced or disbanded. There still remained one 
general, of whose fidelity the Vizier had suspi- 
cion : this was Mahboob Ally Cawn, to whose 
control he had formerly committed the Corah pro- 
vince. When Mahboob Ally was ordered to march 
with two battalions under English officers against 
the Mahrattas, the Nabob applied to General 
Stibbert to detach two of his battalions to occupy 
that district in Mahboob's absence. Colonel Parker 
under the General's sanction, marched into Corah 
with his detachment. The equivocal conduct of 
Mahboob led Colonel Parker to imagine that he 
should render the Nabob an essential service by 
disarming his officers. 

No proof, however, had been given of this sus- 
picion being well founded ; but Mahboob's troops 
having saluted Colonel Parker with twenty-one 
guns, the latter considered a salute so given 
to be a mark of defiance, and demanded in the 
Nabob's name the surrender of the guns ; a refusal 
being given he attacked them within twenty paces; 
the affair lasted ten minutes, Mahboob's troops 
were routed, and Colonel Parker obtained posses- 
sion of the whole park of artillery. It was stated 
that the Vizier had dismissed Mahboob from his 



1775. service and had declared him a traitor; thanking 
Binoal. Colonel Parker for his services. It was nevertheless 
asserted that Mahboob had been since at the Vi- 
zier's court, and received with some degree of 
favour. Notwithstanding these untoward events, 
the Government were led once more to express 
a hope that the dominions of their ally would 
shortly recover from the state of distraction and 
anarchy into which they had been plunged. 
views of the The Directors received with regret and disap- 

Directors on 

the proceedings pointment accounts of the continued differences 
;nent, and dissentions in the Supreme Council. Far 

from disapproving a difference of opinion, they 
desired that each member should express his sen- 
timents with freedom, and record his dissent to 
any measure of which he might not approve ; 
but they observed with much concern the 
warmth of altercation exhibited, which discus- 
- sions threatened to destroy that mutual confi- 
dence and respect so essential to the good of the 
public service. 

They entirely disapproved distant expeditions 
and expensive wars ; they drew a marked dis- 
tinction between operations essential to preserve 
the honour of Government or the safety of the 
Company's possessions, and those undertaken for 
mere pecuniary advantage. They declared that 
the revenue regulations of 1772 were intended not 
only to exclude the servants and dependents of 
collectors from holding lands on fanning lease, 



but likewise the servants of all Europeans, and 1775. 
above all, Europeans themselves, without any Bengal - 
distinction. Having fully investigated the charges 
against Cautoo Baboo, they adopted a series of 
resolutions which condemned the conduct of the 
President and Council in having permitted the 
banian to hold lands. They stated their conviction 
that sums had been paid by parties holding farms, 
contrary to the regulations, and conveyed their 
positive command that not any person in their ser- 
vice should presume to ask or accept, directly or 
indirectly, any present, gratuity, reward, or benefit 
from any farmer of the Company's lands or reve- 
nues. Nor was the farmer to receive more from 
the ryot than was specified in the pottah under the 
regulations. No farmer was to rent lands above 
a specified amount, hereditary zemindars excepted, 
and excepting also occasions to prevent inconve- 

The regulations prohibiting the loan of money 
to zemindars, farmers, or ryots, were to extend to 
all servants of every denomination, and the offender 
was to be suspended. As monopolies in the hands 
of individuals in the out-settlements tended to 
distress the country, the Directors desired that 
measures might be devised to prevent any undue 
influence from operating to the prejudice of the 
fair trader. 

The observations and suggestions submitted by 
General Clavering on the military expenses of Go- 


1775. vernment, were highly applauded, and the conduct 
of the majority commended, as well as their inde- 
fatigable assiduity and laborious researches for the 
welfare of the Company and of the natives.* 

* Letters to Bengal, December 1775, January and April 




VOL. 1. 



During the negociation with Ragobah,* intel- 1774-5. 
licence reached Bombay that the Portuguese Bengal. 

~ iii n Expedition 

authorities at Goa contemplated the conquest of againstsaisette. 
Salsette. To avert such an event, the Council 
determined to avail themselves of the disposition 
of the inhabitants to deliver up that island to the 
Company. The Resident at Poonah was to make 
such proper representation of the circumstances as 
would prevent its operating unfavourably upon 
Ragobah, during the pending discussions on the 
terms of the proposed treaty. 

The forces under Brigadier-general Gordon 
left Bombay for Salsette on the 12th December, 
and reached the fort of Tannah on the following 
day. Operations being forthwith commenced, 
it was taken by storm on the 28th. The Com- 
pany's forces suffered considerably ; amongst 
those who fell was Commodore Watson, the super- 
intendent of marine. The loss of this gallant 
officer was greatly regretted by the Government, 
who caused a monument to be erected to his 
memory at the Presidency, and the Directors 


* Vide page 335. 



[Chap. X. 


Supreme Go- 
vernment call 
for Reports 
from Madras 
and Bombay. 

Nabob ( 


appointed his nephew a writer on the Bombay 
establishment, in testimony of their sense of the 
Commodore's services. 

Before the enterprize had been undertaken, 
though not previously to its being determined 
on, a letter was received from the Council in 
Bengal, announcing their assumption of the Su- 
preme Government under the Regulating Act, and 
desiring to be informed of the whole of the 
proceedings regarding Salsette and the general 
state of the Presidency. A similar requisition 
was at the same time made to the government 
of Madras. 

The demand was immediately met by both 
Presidencies. The Bombay Council anticipated 
that their measures would be appreciated and 
applauded by the Governor-general. 

The following extracts are given from the 


The Nabob of Arcot is the Company*^ ancient ally. The 
possessions he holds, including the Tanjore country, are 
estimated by the best accounts,* at upwards of two crore of 
rupees. His force, by the best information we can procure, 
consists of ten battalions of sepoys, who may be considered 
as regulars, being commanded by European officers, accou- 

* It appears somewhat extraordinary, that with so close an 
alliance as that which subsisted between the Nabob, generally 
styled the Nabob of the Carnatic, and the Company, the Madras 
government should not have possessed more ample as well as 
more correct information. 


tred and disciplined after the European manner, and a 1775. 
battalion of five hundred topasses. He has also four regi- Bengal. 
ments of cavalry, with guns and artillery-men attached to 
each ; and he is at present raising two more, besides the 
irregulars he maintains, which may be estimated between 
ten and twelve thousand. The regiments of cavalry are 
his best troops, having been disciplined by European officers 
lent to him from this establishment. 

As the Company's interests on this coast are so materially 
affected by their connexions with the Nabob, and as misun- 
derstandings and jealousies have long subsisted, which, 
notwithstanding our utmost endeavours to remove do still 
exist, we think it necessary to enumerate some circumstances, 
which may serve to give you an idea thereof. Some time 
after the capture of Tanjore, when we had reason to be 
alarmed by the preparations of the Dutch, in collecting a 
considerable force at Negapatam, and when an army of 
Mahrattas was threatening the peace of the Carnatic, we 
thought proper to represent to the Nabob the necessity 
of putting a garrison of the Company's troops into Tanjore 
for the better security thereof; but although every argument 
was used for that end, he would not consent to it, declar- 
ing that he considered the place sufficiently secure in the 
charge of his own troops. When any measures are adopted 
by the Nabob which are inconsistent with good policy or 
the interests of his country, we never fail to use our endea- 
vours, by reason and argument, to dissuade him from them ; 
but having no constraining power over him, the option still 
remains with himself, either to acquiesce in our ideas or to 
adhere to his own opinion. We are not only responsible for 
the safety of the Company's possessions, but we are also 
charged with the protection of the Carnatic, without any 
certain resources to provide for the exigencies of a war. To 
the Nabob we are obliged to look for money, provisions, 



1775. bullocks, and in short for almost every article necessary to 
Bengal. enable us to equip and maintain an army in the field ; and 
consequently it rests with him either to give those supplies 
or not, as the measures we recommend may coincide with 
his views. The truth of this was fully evinced upon a 
recent occasion, when we were threatened with an invasion 
by the Maharattas, as we have mentioned before. The 
Nabob seemed averse to every measure which in prudence 
we thought necessary to adopt for the safety of the country, 
and we were given to understand that, as his resources de- 
pended solely on the revenues of his country, in case that 
was involved in war, it would be out of his power to supply 
us with either money or provisions, and it was in conse- 
quence of this declaration that we applied to your presidency 
for a supply of money, when it was uncertain how soon the 
Carnatic might be attacked. The danger of such a system 
is too apparent to require animadverting on. 

Connexions of With regard to the connexions of the Nabob with the 
oa e ie? a po°weIs! h European and country powers, we enclose you copies of 
the treaties subsisting between him and the French and 
Dutch, and the Rajah of Travancore. We know not of any 
other alliances that he has entered into, independent of the 
Company. A correspondence has for a considerable time past 
been carried on between him and Hyder Ally Cawn,but from 
the jealousy which they entertain of each other, there ap- 
pears little probability of a hearty union ever taking place. 
French force at The force of the French at Pondicherry is nearly as 
Pondicherry. f u ows . between nine hundred and a thousand Europeans, 
and about four hundred blacks, including Sepoys, Caffrees, 
and Sibbendis. Their revenues and customs are said to be 
one hundred and thirty -four thousand rupees a year, and 
their annual expenses two hundred and sixty-four thousand 



With respect to the Dutch, they have sent back the troops 1775. 

which they had collected at Negapatam, soon after the Bengal. 
reduction of Tanjore, and have reduced their military 
establishment to its former force, and the Sepoys, which 
they had entertained at the same time, have since been 

Dutch force. 


The Portuguese at Goa have lately received a considerable Portuguese 
reinforcement of troops from Europe on two men-of-war, 
and two others are expected with a further supply of troops 
on board. 

Alluding to their connexion with Broach, the Report 
stated : " The unwarrantable conduct of the Nabob of 
Broach, in evading a compliance with every article of a 
treaty entered into with him, in the year 1771 determined 
us, in the support and credit and interest of the Company, 
to procure effectual satisfaction ; and in consequence we 
sent such a force from hence in the beginning of November, 
1772, as reduced the town of Broach, which, together 
with the territories dependent on it, so far as the Nabob had 
possessed them, became the property of the Company. 

Immediately after this acquisition, we fixed a Chief and 
Council at Broach for the government of the town and per- 
gunnahs, and for the collection of the revenues, with a 
suitable garrison for its defence. 

The Guicowar Mahrattas, whose capital is Baroda, is TheMaluattas, 
tributary to the Paishwaor Poonah Mahrattas, and shortly 
before the present divisions broke out amongst the latter, 
Ragobah appointed Govindrow, who is the brother of Futty 
Sing, to be supreme in the Guicowar government, and 
what was more material, he furnished him with an army to 
support his claims. With this force Govind Row soon 




[Chap. X. 


Of the Scindy 


The Chaubs, 


gained possession of the greatest part of the Guicowar 
dominions, his brother, Futty Sing, shutting himself up 
in Baroda, about thirty coss from Broach, and in this 
situation they have continued for some months past. 

At Tattah, situate on the river Indus, the Company 
have a factory, under a resident and one other servant, who 
are placed there merely to endeavour at selling their woollen 
goods, for which the Company have an extensive grant ; but 
as their factory is itself very unimportant, from the small 
quantity of woollens that is annually disposed of, and as it 
is unconnected with the political government of the country, 
which is extremely bad, it is unnecessary to speak further 
of it here. 

At the time the kingdom of Persia was in a flourishing 
state, the Company had factories for the vend of their 
woollen commodities in various parts of it, and enjoyed 
many valuable grants and privileges ; but this trade decay- 
ing by the intestine troubles and divisions that tore that 
kingdom to pieces for many years after the death of Nadir 
Shaw, when neither the persons of their servants nor their 
effects were secure in the inland parts, their factories were 
at length withdrawn, and reduced to the single one at Gom- 
broon, where the agent and council resided. The insults 
and oppressions they had experienced in the factories inland, 
followed them in some degree to Gombroon, which, toge- 
ther with the trade of that port, being turned into another 
channel, induced the Company to order, about twelve years 
ago, that the agency or chief settlement in the gulph should 
be withdrawn from thence, and established at Bussorah, 
where till then one or two only of the Company's servants 
resided, for the disposal of their woollen goods, which was 
done accordingly, and it has since continued so. 

At the top of the Persian Gulph, between the rivers 
which disembogue themselves into it, are the Chaubs, a tribe 



of Arabs, whose territories lay partly within the Turkish 1775. 

and partly within the Persian dominions, and his dependance Bengal 
on both, he (the chief) ought to acknowledge by paying an 
annual tribute ; but from the situation of his country, which 
is very difficult of access, and from his being possessed of 
a marine force, consisting of about fifteen galivats, which 
is superior to that either of the Turks or Persians, he has 
at times refused to acknowledge his dependance on either. 

The Company have a fort, with a sufficient garrison to Tellicheny. 
protect it from the country powers, under the establishment 
of a chief and council. It is situated on the territory of a 
Malabar prince, called the king of Colastria, who granted 
a small district to the Company. This factory is kept solely 
for the purchase of pepper, sandal- wood and cardamoms. 
The territories of several other Malabar powers are adjacent 
to this, but they have lately been subdued. 

The Company have also a factory at Calicut, where one Calicut. 
of their servants resides, chiefly for the provision of plank, 
masts, and timber. This factory is under the orders of that 
of Tellicherry. Calicut was subject from time immemorial 
to a prince called the Zamorin, till the last year, when it 
was taken by the forces of Hyder Ally, with the rest of the 
ZamornVs dominions, who fled no one knew whither. 

In the progress of the negociation with Ragobah, 
he consented to make a deposit of a certain sum 
in consideration of the military aid he was to 
receive from the Government. Being unable to 
fulfil the condition, he consented to a treaty, which 
was concluded on the 6th March, ceding for ever Tr e*ty with 


to the Company, Bassein, Salsette, Jambooseer, 
and Orpad, with the islands of Caranja, Canary, 
Elephanta, and Hog Island. In consideration of 



1775. these cessions, he was to be assisted with a force 

Bengal. q{ ^ j egg than 2 ^ Q() me ^ q{ wh j ch 7 qq were tQ 

be Europeans, and a train of artillery : 1,500 only 
were to be immediately supplied, and the rest, 
if wanted, afterwards.* A force under Colonel 
Keating, consisting of 1,500 rank and file, was 
accordingly sent to his aid. 

The Bombay Government, in advising the 
Home authorities of their proceedings, requested, 
in consequence of " the many services they had 
in hand, in which the European soldiers are un- 
doubtedly the life of the cause," that a supply of 
recruits might be sent out to them. 

Before the detachment could join Ragobah, his 
enemies, through bribery and other means, had 
induced many of his troops, who were mostly 
Arabs, to desert him. They then attacked the 
quarter where he was posted, and ultimately 
He is obliged obliged him (he not knowing how far the treachery 
had spread) to fly, with a body of 1,000 horse, 
towards Cambay. The Nabob of that place, see- 
ing his situation, and dreading the power of his 
enemies, refused to admit him. By the advice of 
the Company's agent at Cambay, he made his way 
towards Bownagur, where he found a vessel be- 
longing to the Company, in which he embarked 
on the 23d February. He reached Surat in safety, 
and was received as an ally and friend of the Com- 
pany. Two principal chiefs in his army, Conderow 


* Vide Printed Treaties, p. 540. 


and Govindrow, with a force of not less than 1775 - 
25,000 men, being within forty coss of Cambay, ENGAL * 
and still in his interest, and many others being- 
likely to join them, the Bombay Government 
acceded to the desire of Ragobah, that he should 
proceed to Cambay, accompanied by Colonel 
Keating, where he anticipated success against the 
enemy. They left Surat on the 15th March; in 
the interim, by supplies from Madras, the force 
under Colonel Keating was increased to 2,500. 
The junction was effected on the 28th April, when 
they proceeded towards Ahmedabad, instead of 
Poonah, as contemplated by the Council. Various 
causes, followed by the setting in of the monsoon, 
protracted the termination of the operations, which 
it was confidently anticipated would restore Rago- 
bah to full authority at Poonah, as chief of the 
Mahrattas. The accession of revenue arising out 
of the cessions, was expected to make Bombay 
" turn out annually advantageous and profitable, 
instead of being a burthen to the Company. " 

While the Council were awaiting the opening 
of the season to renew the campaign, they re- 
ceived a dispatch on the 12th August from Ben- 
gal, censuring the whole of their proceedings, 
and positively requiring that their designs should 
be relinquished, and their forces withdrawn to 
their garrisons, let affairs be in what situation they 
might, unless their safety should be endangered, 
by an immediate retreat ; at the same time plainly 

vol. i. 2 l hinting 


1775. hinting, that unless the commands of the Supreme 
Bengal. Government were punctually complied with, they 
should exercise the authority vested in them by 
the Act, in support of their controlling power 
over the political concerns of the Company in 

The Governor-general wrote at the same time 
to Sacaram Bapoo, the chief of the confederacy 
against Ragobah at Poonah, acquainting him of 
the total want of authority and power on the part 
of the Bombay Presidency to act as they had 
done; and the Supreme Council deputed Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Upton to Poonah in the character 
of plenipotentiary, for the purpose of concluding 
a treaty with the confederates there. 

The Council at Bombay felt indignant at the 
manner in which the Supreme Government had 
exercised their new powers, ignorant as they con- 
fessed themselves to be of the aifairs connected 
with the Mahratta states, and the interests of the 
parties at Poonah. They observed that their de- 
puting an officer, even less conversant with the 
relation in which the Company stood towards 
the Mahratta states than the Government of Ben- 
gal itself, was calculated to place the whole of 
the Company's affairs in a state of danger, and un- 
necessarily to degrade the authority of the Bombay 

They represented to the Supreme Government 
in the month of July, that the Company's forces 



had in every engagement gained advantages over i?75. 
the enemy, but in consequence of Ragobah's troops Bengai - 
proving far less efficient than was anticipated, they company's 

forces in favour 

requested a supply both of men and money, to ofRagobah. 
secure the advantages which could not fail to ac- 
crue to the Company. A similar application was 
made to Madras. Another communication was 
addressed by the President of Bombay, on the 
6th of August, to the Governor-general and Coun- 
cil, advising them of the advantages obtained 
through Futty Sing, the Guicowar, having quitted 
the ministerial party at Poonah, and concluded a 
treaty with Ragobah, to whom he was to furnish 
such troops and money as had been usually sup- 
plied by the Guicowar to the Paishwa. Notwith- 
standing these altered circumstances, General Majority su- 
Clavering, Colonel Monson, and Mr. Francis support order' 
supported the order for the Bombay troops being oT company's 
withdrawn. They also interdicted the supply of Ragobah. 3 ' ° 
aid from Madras. Mr. Hastings considered that Mr Hastings 
the changed situation of Ragobah authorized the dlffers * 
required assistance. This difference of opinion 
from what he originally expressed, having drawn 
down on him the severe animadversions of the 
majority, he stated that in discussing a point so 
important to the safety of the Company's interests, 
he felt it to be of little moment, whether his opi- 
nions, which had no weight in the political mea- 
sures of the existing administration, were exactly 
consistent with each other or not, yet it concerned 
2 l 2 his 



[Chav. X. 


Col. Upton 



Retires to 
Bombay ; 
which govern 
ment is autho- 
rized to nego- 
ciate with 

his credit to defend them, and he accordingly re- 
ferred to his former proceedings in proof that 
there was nothing inconsistent in the opinions he 
had given. The majority still determined that no 
reinforcements should be sent from Bengal or 
Madras, but agreed to extend the pecuniary 
supply to twenty lacs. 

The Nabob of the Carnatic having expressed 
an earnest desire to be included in any treaty 
effected through the instrumentality of Colonel 
Upton, the Bengal Council consented to the 
Nabob's deputing Mr. Chambers from Madras 
to Poonah, for the purpose of conferring with 
Colonel Upton, on the Nabob's intentions.* 

The latter officer reached Poonah on the 30th 
December. The negociation proving unsatisfac- 
tory, he made various references to the Govern- 
ment at Bombay, to ascertain their views on the 
general question. That Government had re- 
solved, notwithstanding the peremptory orders 
from Bengal, to continue the Company's forces 
with those of Ragobah, which were encamped at 
Surat, until a treaty should be concluded. 

Colonel Upton being at length constrained to 
retire to Bombay, the Supreme Government de- 
termined to remove the restrictions imposed upon 
the subordinate presidency, and authorised the 
Bombay Council to conclude a treaty with Rago- 
bah. In furtherance of this object, a force was 


* Letter from Bengal, November 1775. 


prepared at Calcutta to proceed by sea to Bom- ,7W - 
bay. Instructions were also sent to Madras for 
the Council there to render all possible assistance. 
Communications were at the same time made by 
the Governor-general to Hyder, to the Nizam, 
Holkar, Scindiah, and other chiefs, urging them 
either to join in supporting Ragobah or to ob- 
serve a neutrality. General Gordon at Bombay 
was to assume command of the troops belonging 
to the Presidency, and Colonel Upton those from 

These measures were scarcely determined upon Treaty con- 

^.i i -i,- i-.,o eluded at Poo- 

at Calcutta, when intelligence reached the Su- nah. 
preme Council, from Colonel Upton, that the 
ministers at Poonah had agreed to a treaty of 
peace, which had been signed at Poorunder on 
the 1st March 1776. It consisted of twenty 
articles, the third of which declared that, in ac- 
cordance with the wish of the Paishwa, the island 
of Salsette and the small islands adjacent were 
to be restored by the English, they receiving in 
exchange a country valued at three lacs of rupees, 
with the chout, in the neighbourhood of Broach, 
all subject to confirmation by the Bengal Govern- 
ment. That portion of the Guzeraut country 
ceded by Ragobah to the Company, was to be 
restored to the Paishwa.* Ragobah's army was 
to be disbanded within one month. In the event 
of his not acceding to this stipulation, the English 


* Fide page 511. 


1775. were to separate from him. A residence, with a 
Bencal. limited personal establishment, and an annual 
stipend being secured to him. The treaties with 
the Mahrattas, of 1739 and 1756, were to remain 
in full force. The Paishwa agreed to pay twelve 
lacs of rupees, in part of the expenses of the Eng- 
lish army. The treaty was confirmed by the 
Supreme Government with the exception of the 
part relating to the surrender of Salsette, which 
Colonel Upton formally declared would not be 
given up, nor would the proffered territory in 
exchange be accepted by them. 

Half the detachment prepared for service at 
Bombay, with upwards of two lacs of treasure, 
had been despatched from Calcutta before intelli- 
gence was received there of the treaty of Poor- 



Ragobah, as was to be expected, declared that 
he would never accede to the treaty. He referred 
to that which he had solemnly entered into with 
the English nation in 1774 : he determined, there- 
fore, to reject every other proposition, and to 
throw himself upon the protection of the British 
Government. The authorities at Bombay ac- 
cordingly resolved to receive him into one of the 
Company's settlements. 

The orders of the Directors fully authorized the 
retention of the cessions made by Ragobah. They 


* Letter from Bengal, March and May 1776. 


condemned the policy observed by the Supreme 1775. 
Government towards the Bombay Presidency, Bengal - 
and the interdiction of the aid originally intend- 
ed to have been sent to that presidency from 

The Paishwa not having made his stipulated 
payment to the Company, Colonel Upton was 
directed by the Supreme Government to quit 
Poonah and repair to. Bombay, from whence he 
was to carry on his negociations. The Bombay 
Council, as well as their representative at Cal- 
cutta, Mr. Taylor, most strongly protested against 
this additional indignity. After protracted and 
unsatisfactory discussions, the minister at Poonah, 
at the close of 1777, intimated, through Mr. Mos- 
tyn, the Resident from Bombay, a desire to come 
to some accommodation with Ragobah. The 
Government of Bombay adhered to their opinion 
that he was the rightful head of the Mahrattas, 
and that his elevation would alone secure the in- 
terests of that empire with those of the Company. 
The French, who had at this time obtained access French at 
to the Court of Poonah, exerted every effort, 
through M. Bellecombe the Governor- general of 
their settlements, to extend the French influence 
in India. He had sailed from Bengal to take 
possession of Mahe, and to confer with M. F. 
Lubin then at Poonah. 

* Letters, November and December 1776. 


1775 In March 1778, a revolution broke out at 

Poonah in favour of Ragobah, in whose name a 
proclamation was issued for restoring peace and 
order. In July, the Bombay Council declared 
that the treaty concluded by Colonel Upton had 
been violated by the Durbar proceedings ; and 
that they were consequently freed from its obli- 
gations. They also declared that measures had 
become imperatively necessary to defeat the in- 
trigues of the French, who had been long exerting 
themselves in schemes hostile to the English.* 
Government They proposed to place Ragobah in the regency 

support Rago- J r r r o o j 

bah, and form a t Poonah, and that he should conduct the g*o- 

a treaty with 

him. vernment in the name of the Paishwa. This lat- 

ter arrangement appeared to be in consonance 
with the views of the Court of Directors. f 

The necessary operations consequent upon this 
determination could not be commenced until the 
month of September. In October, a treaty was 
concluded with Ragobah, by which the Company 
were to assist him with 4,000 troops to conduct 
him to Poonah. J 

During these proceedings on the western side 
of India, the attention of the Bengal Council was 
called to the conduct of Lord Pigot, Governor 
of Madras, towards the Rajah of Tan jo re ; and to 


* Secret Letter from Bengal, April 1778. 
f Letter to Bombay, July 1777. + Fide Printed Treaties. 


an appeal from the Nabob of the Carnatic in rela- 1775. 
tion to the measures of the Rajah. The affairs of Bengai - 
these two Native chiefs continue even to this dis- 
tant period of sixty years to occupy the attention of 
the home authorities, including that of Parliament. 

A brief reference will be made to the relation 
in which the Nabob and Rajah stood towards each 
other, and towards the Government of Madras, 
when the unprecedented event of the arrest and 
imprisonment of Lord Pigot took place. 

Tanjore had been considered in the light of 
a tributary to the Nabob of the Carnatic, who 
exacted, as he did from his other tributaries, what 
his power enabled him. The Company were a 
party to the original treaty of 1762, and whilst 
bound to see it fulfilled, they felt it equally im- 
portant not to support the Nabob in reducing 
Tanjore so as to bring it immediately under his 
Government. The Select Committee at Madras, 
in July 1771, expressed their desire to avoid being 
parties in subverting the established government 
of any power with whom the Company had politi- 
cal connexion. Should the Rajah of Tanjore be 
subdued by the Nabob, they felt it would be bet- 
ter to restore the Rajah or some more fit person of 
his family upon the throne, he paying a certain 
present and assigning territory as security for re- 
payment of the expenses that might be incurred 
by the Company on his behalf. The Directors 
fully approved of this view. No sooner, however, 



I77& had the Committee at Madras expressed their in- 
tentions to the Court, than they determined to 
leave the Nabob, who was the inveterate enemy 
of the Rajah, to negociate personally with the 
state of Tanj ore : thus, in point of fact, surren- 
dering the Rajah's interests to the will and caprice 
of the Nabob. The Council intimated to the 
latter, that whatever might be taken from the 
Rajah in forts, money, or otherwise, should be 
left at his disposal. Tanj ore was attacked and 
subdued. When intelligence reached the Direc- 
tors of this event and of the treaty of 1771, they 
strongly reprobated the conduct of the Madras 
Council. They deprecated the estrangement that 
it would necessarily occasion on the part of the 
Rajah. They animadverted upon the extraordinary 
course subsequently pursued by the Madras 
Council, who, without awaiting the Court's views 
on their proceedings of 1771, declared Tanjore 
humbled ; the treaty of 1762 to be positively an- 
nulled ; and adopted a resolution to aid the Nabob 
still further, by withdrawing the troops sent against 
the Nalcooty and Marawar Polygars, and detach- 
ing them for operations against Tanjore. 

These measures determined the Court to remove 
the Governor, Mr. Wynch, and to appoint Lord 
Pigot as his successor, to whom instructions were 
given to replace the Rajah of Tanjore on the 
musnud ; he agreeing to admit a detachment 
of the Company's troops to garrison that settle- 


ment, as well as to ensure regular payment of 1775. 
the Nabob's demands, and to watch and coun- BENGAr< 
teract the intentions or intrigues of any Euro- 
pean power in their attempting to form connec- 
tions inimical to the Company's interests. An 
account of the garrison was to be laid before the 
Rajah every three months, and the surplus of the 
assigned lands, after defraying the proper charges, 
was to be faithfully restored to him. The Com- 
pany felt that justice required the Rajah should 
be placed out of the power of the Nabob, at the 
same time that the former should not be protected 
in withholding the proper tribute that was due to 
the Nabob. 

The Directors then expressed their views gene- 
rally regarding the Company's territories on the 
coast. After the affairs of Tanjore were settled, 
the Council were instructed to nominate a Com- 
mittee of Circuit, for the purpose of investigating 
the state of the Jaghire and the Northern Circars. 
They were to ascertain, with as much exactness 
as possible, the produce of the Circars, the num- 
ber of inhabitants, the state of the manufactures, 
the fortified places, the gross amount of revenues, 
and the sources from whence derived ; the mode 
of collection; the specific proportion received 
annually by the Rajahs or Zemindars, and that 
which custom had allotted to the cultivator in 
reward for his labour. A particular statement 
was to be given of the security which the native 



1775. had for his property ; of the courts which existed 
Bengal. £ or ^ e administration of justice, and how far 
regulations, similar to those in Bengal, might be 
introduced into the Circars. They expressed an 
earnest desire to secure to the Rajahs or Zemin- 
dars their annual income, free from the necessity 
of maintaining an armed force to compel payment. 
The proportion of the produce to be received by 
the farmers was to be ascertained, and no more 
to be exacted. 

These orders manifested an anxious desire to 
proceed upon sound principles, in effectually pro- 
viding both for the security and happiness of the 
people, and the just and fair claims of the state. 
Subsequent events effectually checked the in- 
quiry thus ordered to be carried forward, and 
postponed to an indefinite period the acquisition 
of the necessary data, upon which to form a right 
conclusion on the important measures which the 
Court had in view. 

Lord Pigot took his seat as President and Go- 
vernor of Fort St. George on the 11th December 

The Council at the first meeting, expressed their 
opinion that great delicacy would be necessary in 
announcing to the Nabob the purport of the 
instructions with which his Lordship was charged 
by the Directors. After repeated interviews be- 
tween the Nabob and the President, his Lordship 
frankly stated, that it was impossible to permit 



Tanjore to remain under his management ; that 1775 
measures must be immediately adopted to restore Bengal - 
the Rajah ; and that troops would be ordered to 
take the field for such purpose. The Nabob repre- 
sented that many groundless reports had reached 
Europe. He declared that the misconduct of Tul- 
jaujee, in connexion with the Dutch, the Danes, 
Hyder, and others, together with his having 
assigned and mortgaged lands, dependencies of 
Tanjore, to other European nations, threaten- 
ing to call in the Mahrattas to disturb and lay 
waste the Carnatic, and attacking the Nal- 
cooty and Marawar Polygars, were some of the 
causes which had shewn the necessity of his 
acting ; and added, the King " of Great Britain 
had sent to congratulate me on the success of 
my troops!" affording another proof of the in- 
convenience of the missions from the crown of 
Admirals Sir John Lindsay and Sir Robert Har- 
land.* The Nabob closed his appeal by declaring 
that he would agree to put Company's troops into 
the garrison at Tanjore ; that he had placed his 
life and honour, and those of his children, in the 
hands of the Company, and had fixed his resi- 
dence at Madras ; but to the proposition to give 
back the fort and countries of Tanjore to Tul- 
jaujee, and to bring disgrace upon himself, — what 
answer could he give? He said, " I have been 
long a friend of the Company ; my father's life 

* Fide pages 291, 308. 


1775. was sacrificed for them, my riches have been 
expended in their service, and I now beg from 
their friendship that they will have pity upon an 
old man's grey hairs !" 

This appeal was calculated to interest the most 
indifferent person in wishing that the claim of the 
Nabob should be acknowledged, but it was in truth 
prompted by an implacable hatred to the Rajah of 
Tanjore, and a thirst for power and acquisitions. 

Lord Pigot was not to be diverted from his 
purpose : he determined to carry the Court's 
orders into effect. The fort was garrisoned by 
troops under Col. Harper, and the Rajah set at 
liberty. His Lordship proceeded in person to 
restore the Rajah. A difference of opinion arose 
as to what military powers could be exercised by 
the President out of the fort. Sir Robert Fletcher 
objected to orders being given to Col. Harper to 
obey Lord Pigot. The Nabob at the same time 
urged delay until answers had been received from 
Europe, as he was sure no such orders would 
have been given had the facts been fully stated. 
Lord Pigot nevertheless proceeded to Tanjore, and 
issued a proclamation, restoring the Rajah, who, in 
addressing his Lordship, said, " Had I a thousand 
tongues, I could not express my gratitude." At 
this time Mr. Paul Benfield, whose name was so 
frequently before the public in connexion with the 
creditors of the Rajah, preferred a statement of his 
demand to the Council. Lord Pigot referred to 



the Act of 1773, which he considered to recognise 1775. 
just claims only. His Lordship had suggested the Bengal - 
appointment of a Resident at Tanjore, and sub- 
mitted Mr. Russell's name for the office ; Col. 
Stuart was opposed to his Lordship's proposi- 
tion. That officer himself being proposed by the 
majority for the station of commandant of Tan- 
jore. Lord Pigot refused to put the question of 
approval on the orders to Col. Harper to deliver 
over the command to Col. Stuart. The majority 
of the Board insisted upon their right to decide, 
and called upon the secretary, should the presi- 
dent persist in his refusal, to put the question to 
each member, beginning with the youngest. 
After the letter had been approved and signed, 
Lord Pigot took it from the secretary, and inti- 
mated that he should stop the matter where it 
was. His Lordship then charged Messrs. Stratton 
and Brook with issuing orders subversive of the 
established authority, and the majority with a 
desire to overturn the government. They pro- 
tested at the same time in the strongest manner 
against the arbitrary act of Lord Pigot. The pro- 
ceedings terminated in the arrest of his Lordship, 
and in his confinement at the Mount, under the 
orders of the majority. The admiral, Sir Edward 
Hughes was invited by the Council, who, as the 
majority, had assumed the government, to attend 
the Board on the 25th of August, in order that he 
might have explained to him the circumstances 




1775. relative to so extraordinary a proceeding as the 
Bengal se i zure f a governor. After hearing their state- 
ment, he requested to be furnished with a copy of 
the proclamation and of the Commission consti- 
tuting the government of Madras. On the 27th 
Sir E. Hughes addressed the Board : 

Reply of Sir In reply I have only to say, that, as a good subject, 

and a hearty well-wisher to our country and the Company, 
and as the known friend of all parties, it will be difficult 
for me to express to you my amazement and sorrow at such 
disagreements, productive of such extraordinary conse- 
quences. You may naturally be led to suppose, gentlemen, 
that situated as I am, and finding you in possession of the 
government of a presidency, I am ordered by his Majesty 
to communicate with you for the common cause, and for 
the welfare and interests of the Company. I shall join 
you in all such measures tending to those desirable ends, 
when you may find proper to call for my assistance. 

On the same day the Admiral wrote to the 
Board, stating that Lord Pigot having claimed the 
protection of the King's flag, " I am to require, in 
his Majesty's name, that you give orders for his 
Lordship's safe conduct to my ship." On the 
4th September Sir Edward Hughes attended a 
council of the government, when various ques- 
tions were put to him as to his becoming respon- 
sible for Lord Pigot if his lordship should be given 
up to him. Sir Edward Hughes declined to an- 
swer any question until he received a reply to his 
letter of the 27th : one was accordingly written 
on 4th September, and placed in his hands. The 



Admiral's reply was made on the 5th, and stated 1776 78. 
that the requisition for safe conduct to his ship m noa 


being made in the King's name, no terms could be 
admitted. He could only repeat and again require, 
that safe custody might be given his Lordship to 
the Admiral's ship." 

The Council sent the following reply to the 
Admiral : — 

As loyal subjects to his Majesty and faithful servants Proceedings at 
to the Company, we shall always shew the greatest venera- i„g Lord Sot' 
tion for the sacred name of his Majesty, and the utmost 
respect to the British flag ; but, having no proof that his 
Majesty empowers any of his officers to require the removal 
of any servant of the Company in a similar situation 
Lord Pigot, from under the authority of the Company's 
Government, we beg to add that this is another reason why 
we cannot surrender his Lordship. 

The Admiral replied to the communication from 
the Council on the 7th September: — 

I confess I should have been disappointed to have been 
told that you had any proofs before you, that his Majesty 
had empowered any of his officers to require the removal of 
any servant of the Company in a similar situation with 
Lord Pigot. I believe the case to be unexampled, and I 
feel in my heart that I have done my duty to his Majesty 
and to my country in making the requisition. I must leave 
the results and all ill-consequences with you. 

The Supreme Government determined to sup- 
port the majority as the legally constituted govern- 
ment under the Court's orders, a copy of which 

VOL. I. 2 M 



[Chap. X. 


Bengal and 

Death of Col. 

they transmitted to Lord Pigot, with the an- 
nouncement of the resolution they had adopted. 

The Council at Bombay having declared it to 
be their intention to support Lord Pigot, the 
Governor-general remonstrated in the strongest 
terms against the irregularity of their resolution, 
and the dangerous effect which might be produced 
by an appearance of disunion between them and 
the Governor of Madras.* 

Colonel Monson being precluded by ill-health 
from attending the Council, the foregoing pro- 
ceedings were sent to him for his information 
and concurrence ; he expressed his sense of 
the attention shewn to him by his colleagues, 
but stated that he thought any opinion given 
when absent from his seat in council would 
be unconstitutional, he therefore declined to 
offer any opinion, although he had little doubt he 
should have united in the sentiments of the 
Board. This gallant officer removed to Hooghly 
for change of air, where he expired in the night 
of the 25th September. 

General Clavering had written to the Directors 
on the 23d of that month, representing that 
Colonel Monson's illness had long deprived the 
Board of his invaluable services. He stated, that 
the Government of Bengal had in fact been vested 
in the hands of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Barwell for 


* Secret Consultations^ 10th September 1776. 


an indefinite time, by the Governor-general's cast- 1776-78. 
ing vote : " men whose conduct you have cen- B >i N A G D A R L As nd 
sured in every letter of this season, but whose 
principles are so incompatible, that my duty to 
you, to the public, and to myself, oblige me to 
declare that I do not hold myself responsible for 
the safety of these provinces whilst the govern- 
ment continues conducted as it now is." He con- 
cluded by requesting that the King's ministers 
might be informed of his intention to resign his 
post of councillor and commander-in-chief, in 
the month of November or December 1777. 

The whole of the proceedings regarding the Resolution of 

1 o o o Proprietors on 

arrest of Lord Pigot were reported to the Home Lor d Pigot's 

& l case. 

authorities from Madras, on the 24th September 
1776. On the 9th May following the General 
Court passed a resolution, highly disapproving of 
the removal of Lord Pigot, but at the same time 
recommending the recall of his Lordship and that 
of all the members of council, in order that their 
conduct might undergo a full inquiry. The reso- 
lution was passed by 414 votes to 317. The mat- 
ter was likewise taken up in Parliament. His 
Lordship's death, which occurred on the 11th 
May, was, in a great measure, caused by the 
effect of the proceedings upon a naturally 
irritable frame. He was succeeded by Mr. 

The Directors had resolved to order the restora- 0rders of Di - 

rectors as to 

tionof Lord Pigot, and appointed Mr. (afterwards proceedings of 

D rr v , future Govern- 

2 M 2 Sir ments. 


I77G-78. Sir Thomas) Rumbold second member of coun- 
madras!"' c ^> w * tn succession to the government. In con- 
sequence of the embarrassment occasioned at this 
juncture by the proceedings of Mr. Benfield and 
other parties contracting pecuniary engagements 
with the Rajah of Tanjore, and with other 
country powers, specific commands were sent out 
prohibiting all persons from being concerned in 
such transactions. Regulations were likewise laid 
down for the guidance of the Council in future. 

1. The opinion of the majority was to bind the mino- 
rity ; but in the event of equality of votes, the President 
was to have the casting voice. 

2. Any question proposed in writing was to be put by 
the President, or, in his absence, by the presiding coun- 

3. In the event of the President refusing to put the 
question, the councillor next in succession was to propose 
it ; and on his declining, the third member present, and 
so on. 

4. All orders and instructions were to be issued in the 
name of the Governor and Council, although the Governor 
might dissent. 

5. The Council was only to be dissolved by a vote of 
the majority. 

6. No councillor was to be suspended, but by the votes 
of three parts in four of the members resident at the pre- 
sidency. No governor possessing a commission from the 
Court was to be imprisoned or removed, except for felony, 
breach of trust, or unfaithfulness to the Company. 

7. Jf the President refused to summon a council when 
requested by three members, then the secretary was to 



summon a meeting, on receiving a requisition for that pur- 1776-78. 
pose in writing. B ™ CAL Wld 

r ° Madras. 

8. Unless a council had been so summoned, no pro- 
ceedings of a meeting, although of the majority, were to 
be valid. 

9. No officer, civil or military, was to obey any orders 
from the government, unless issued in the name of the 
President and Council, countersigned by the secretary. 
Inquiries were ordered to be made into allegations that 
presents had been received by Lord Pigot ; and Colonel 
Stuart was suspended for the term of six months, to admit 
of a full investigation regarding his proceedings.* Major 
(afterwards Sir Hector) Munro, was appointed commander- 

Another subject of difference in the Bengal bengal. 
Council arose on the question of a new revenue a new^evenue 
settlement. That which had been concluded settlement - 
in 1772 with the farmers for five years, failed to 
produce the expected improvement, because they 
had engaged at a higher rate than the districts 
could afford. The matter had occupied the atten- 
tion of the Government in 1775 : in November 
1776, Mr. Hastings recorded a minute, jointly views of Mr, 
with Mr. Barwell, and submitted a plan for 
adoption in the provinces at the expiration of the 
then existing term. Amongst the proposed pro- 
visions were the following : — 

That all taxes which had been imposed upon the ryots 
since 1764-5 should be entirely abolished. 

That the Twenty-four Pergunnahs should be sold as 

* Letters to Madras, 11th June and 4th July 1777- 




[Chap. X. 


Views of Mr. 

zemindarries by public auction, in lots not exceeding a 
jumma or rent-roll of 20,000 or 30,000 rupees. The 
revenue to be paid by the purchasers to be settled on an 
average of the three preceding years' collections, with an 
allowance of fifteen per cent, to be deducted for charge of 
collection and their profits. The revenue to remain fixed at 
that rate during the life of the purchaser, the Government 
having liberty to sell if the zemindar should be deficient in 
his payments. 

That all the other districts in Bengal should be farmed 
out on leases for life, or for two joint lives, to such respon- 
sible persons as should offer the most advantageous terms, 
allowing the preference to the zemindars. It was not to 
be in the power of Government to change or deviate from 
them on any occasion, or for any pretence whatsoever. The 
continual variation in the mode of collecting the revenue, 
and the continual usurpation on the rights of the people 
produced by the rapacity or remissness of the Mogul 
Government, and in that of the English by a desire to ac- 
quire reputation from a sudden increase of collection, with- 
out sufficient attention to remote consequences, had fixed in 
the minds of the Ryots a rooted distrust of the ordinances 
of Government. No assurance, however strong, would per- 
suade them that the laws which had no apparent object but 
the ease of the people and the security of property, could be 
of longer duration, unless confirmed by a stronger pledge 
than the resolution of a fluctuating administration. 

Mr. Francis considered that the opinion of the 
governing power, being the proprietor of the soil 
under the constitution of the Mogul government, 
was erroneous, and that a permanent fixed tribute 
ought to be determined, instead of acting upon 
the principle of raising the greatest possible re- 


venue from the country, a principle which had 1776-78. 
prevailed from the acquisition of the Dewanny, and Benoal - 
under which he was satisfied the Government had 
been living upon its capital, or in other words, had 
annually taken a portion of the existing wealth 
which ought to have been reserved for future pro- 
duction. He urged at considerable length, and 
with great ability, the necessity of establishing 
some general fixed system of policy for the 
government of the country, and not to aim at pur- 
chasing immediate advantage, inconsistent with 
the permanency of our dominion, or the welfare 
of the natives. It would be absurd, he observed, 
to propose a plan for the internal settlement of the 
country, without taking it for granted, in the first 
instance, that ere long it will be determined 
whether the natives of Bengal are to acknow- 
ledge one sovereign, or to be subject to one 
government, or whether they are to be left in 
their present state, divided between their native 
prince, claiming the title of soubahdar, whose 
government, the Company tell us, they are so- 
lemnly bound to support; the emperor, whose 
rights, as lord paramount, inherent in the consti- 
tution of the empire, have for a number of years 
been acknowledged by the Company ; the presi- 
dency of Fort William, who hold the sword by 
agreement with the Nabob, as they do the grant 
of the purse from the emperor ; and lastly, a 
court of judicature, exercising an unlimited ju- 


1776 78. risdiction through the provinces in the name of 
b ENG al. the King of Great Britain> The decision of this 

great question must originate at home. For the 
purpose of forming an internal settlement, it is 
sufficient to suppose that the undivided sove- 
reignty shall be assumed and declared by his 
Majesty, whether directly and to all intents, or 
with a reserve of the actual government to the 
Company. The sovereignty once declared, the 
subsequent question, viz. in what manner it may 
be most expedient to exercise it for the perma- 
nent benefit of the governing power, will be re- 
lieved of a great part of the difficulty which now 
attends it." 

Ten years had not elapsed since the Company 
stood forth in the character of Dewan, under the 
grant to them of the revenues of Bengal, Bahar, 
and Orissa. It was too much to expect that 
either sufficient time had been given, or that 
means had been possessed by the Government, 
to enter upon the inquiry with a reasonable 
hope of arriving at anything like a satisfactory 
result, even under the suggestion of Mr. Hast- 
ings ; still less could it be expected that the pre- 
liminary point insisted upon by Mr. Francis could 
be decided, at so early a period of the Company's 
acquisitions. The minute of Mr. Hastings was 
framed for a practical result; that of Mr. Fran- 
cis, able as everything was which proceeded from 
his pen, contemplated a prospective measure, 



which he little anticipated would have required 1776-78. 
half a century to effect, and that the attempt at an 
earlier attainment of the object would be followed 
by the exclusion of the distinguished leader of 
his party from the councils of his Sovereign for 
more than twenty years. 

Nothing final resulted from these proceedings of 
the Government. But the period drew nigh when 
the Governor-general felt that the new settlement 
would necessarily press itself upon their atten- 
tion, and must be decided. He accordingly re- 
corded a minute in the month of November 1776, Further minute 

by Mr. Hast- 

in which he pointed out the necessity, before ings. 
coming to a decision, of being previously fur- 
nished with accurate statements of the real value 
of the lands, and the grounds upon which they 
should be prepared. To obtain them he felt 
would be a work of labour requiring much offi- 
cial knowledge, some management, and unremit- 
ting application, in comparing and collating the 
accounts of the past collections, in digesting the 
materials which might be furnished by the pro- 
vincial councils and dewans, in issuing orders 
for special accounts and other materials of infor- 
mation, and in deputing native officers on occa- 
sional investigations. He felt the impossibility 
of the Revenue Boards conducting a business of 
such detail, and that it could not be left wholly 
to the provincial councils, as it required uni- 
formity in its design, authorityjnJis^execiition, 



1776-78. and an extraordinary share of responsibility to 
animate the zeal of those who should be entrusted 
with the charge of it. He therefore proposed 
that a temporary office should be constituted to 
execute the business, under the conduct of one or 
two covenanted servants of the Company, assisted 
by a dewan and other officers, either selected 
from the office of the khalsa, or occasionally 
chosen for special commissions. To ensure des- 
patch, it was proposed that all orders issued from 
the office, when sanctioned by the Board, should 
be written in the name of the Governor-general, 
and that the control of it should be committed to 
his immediate charge. 
opposed by This suggestion met with the most determined 

IVIcssrs* Clflvcr- 

ing and Francis, opposition on the part of General Clavering and Mr. 
Francis. The latter recorded sundry minutes in 
reply to that of Mr. Hastings. General Clavering 
declared it to be an attempt on the part of the 
Governor-general to assume an authority which he 
considered to contravene the constitutional form 
of the Council, and that the intention of the mea- 
sure was to exact from the people the utmost re- 
venue they could pay. 

The proposal was at length carried by the cast- 
ing vote of the Governor-general. Messrs. Bogle 
and Anderson, together with the Accountant- 
general, were to form the Board. Letters being 
proposed by Mr. Hastings to the provincial coun- 
cils, calling upon them to aid in promoting the 



measure, and that the members of the Supreme 1776-78. 
Council should sign them, Mr. Francis opposed 
the extension of such power to the councils, as 
unwarranted by law, and as being inconsistent 
with the general duties of a councillor. 

General Clavering would be no party to de- 
prive himself of any of the rights that had been 
assigned to him as a member of the Government ; 
he protested against the intended measure ; he 
declared he would not sign the proposed let- 
ters, and that, to the utmost of his power, he 
would render every person liable for every act 
done by them in virtue of an order issued by Mr. 

The letters were nevertheless ordered to be sent 
forward. Protests and rejoinders were recorded 
on the proceedings of the Government. The 
subject was closed by Mr. Hastings observ- 
ing that he thought it had been exhausted, and 
referring to his minute for a reply to the argu- 
ments urged against it. 

In announcing this measure to the Directors, 
the Governor-general and Mr. Barwell urged in 
their justification, that some preparatory means 
were necessary to the formation of the future set- 
tlement of the province at the close of the exist- 
ing settlement. If the Council were not unani- 
mous in their choice of these means, it was unde- 
niably necessary that the choice of that part in 
which the constitutional majority coincided should 




[Chap. X. 

J776-78. prevail, and it was equally clear that the acts of 
Bengal. suc \i majority were the acts of the Government, 
and they considered that General Clavering and 
Mr. Francis, in refusing to be bound by the ma- 
jority, were guilty of a breach of the law. '* Un- 
fortunately the power which we possess is but 
accidental, and its duration uncertain. The de- 
clared expectations of the change to take place 
in this government, with the arrival of the Eagle 
packet, favoured, perhaps, by the severity of your 
late censures on us, and the indulgent sentiments 
expressed to our opponents, tend to scatter doubts 
and distrusts in the minds of the people, to weaken 
our authority, and to sanctify every opposition 
to it." 
iue P aSt e ofMr * n tne °P m i° n °f Mr. Farrer, the Company's 
Hastings' mea- standing counsel, the measure of investing Mr. 
Hastings with the proposed independent power 
was illegal and contrary to law. 

In its progress, the conduct of some of the na- 
tive aumeens, who had been sent into the inte- 
rior for the purpose of collecting documents, was 
stated to be cruel and unjustifiable, and that they 
had beaten and otherwise ill-treated the natives. 
In order to ascertain the legality of their exercis- 
ing what was considered to be such unbridled 
General cia- sway, General Clavering, in May 1777, advised 
na[ivfs! upP ° rts the Directors that he had determined to support, 
in a civil suit, a native writer who had been ill- 
treated in the district of Rajeshaye. 



Differences continued to distract the Council. 1776 78. 
The opponents of Mr. Hastings declared that he Bbngai ' 
had never clearly avowed the object of the 
inquiry which he had instituted ; they still urged 
its illegality, and his desire to raise the re- 
venue at the expense of the zemindars, who he 
was charged with desiring to deprive of their 

He disavowed these motives ; " I am entitled to 
credit, because, in the first place, I am certainly 
the best judge of my own intentions ; and in the 
second, it would be the height of imprudence to 
make such a declaration on a point not ultimately 
depending on my will, if I really meant to act 
contrary to it. But I will not stop at this negative 
declaration. It is my earnest wish, and my united 
object, in the enquiry which I have set on foot, to 
establish an equal, an easy, and a perpetual assess- 
ment of the public revenue, to collect it through the 
zemindars, where they are capable of the charge, 
and to employ other means where they are not, 
still reserving to the zemindars a fixed proportion 
of the net revenue arising from their lands." 

In reply, General Clavering declared, that Mr. 
Hastings evaded what he could not defend, and 
misrepresented what he avoided to answer ; and 
lest the art with which his minute was drawn 
up, intended as it was to deceive those who had 
not leisure to compare documents, might throw a 
veil over facts, which it was vainly attempted to 



1776-78. remove, he should sit down to point out that his 
Bengal. declarations, combined with his conduct, did in 
fact amount to nothing less than a subversion of 
the Government, and that he was convinced of 
the justness of the remark made by an eminent 
personage in England, on reading his defence of 
the Rohilla war, " that the arguments it contained 
would even have been unworthy of Mrs. Rudd."* 
Mr. Hastings alluded to General Clavering's 
minute in the following terms : " it is beneath a 
reply. He may continue to revile me with lan- 
guage yet grosser, if grosser can be invented. 
This, with the other evils attendant on my present 
situation, while I continue in it, I must bear, and 
he knows it." 

The Court of Directors having considered the 
various circumstances connected with the letting of 
the lands, as communicated to them from Bengal,! 
directed that only annual settlements should be 
entered into, and the lands to be let for each suc- 
ceeding year on the most advantageous terms. In 


* This female was tried as an accomplice with the Messrs. 
Perreau, who were executed for forgery in 1775. Without 
questioning the delicacy of the comparison, it establishes be- 
yond all doubt the fact that Mr. Hastings' opponents did not 
confine their differences to the council chamber, but were in 
correspondence with influential parties opposed to him in Eng- 
land, as the defence was not sent home till October 1774, the 
month in which the new councillors reached Bengal. Vide 
pages 410 and 419. 

f Vide pages 413-425. 


every disposal of the lands, they enjoined that a 1776-79. 
strict preference should be given, and every indul- 
gence shewn, to the native inhabitants, and that no 
European, or the servant of an European, should 
be permitted to hold any share. 

Demands were to be made for outstanding- 
balances, but should cases requiring lenity arise, 
the Court authorised the remission of such part, or 
even the whole, as might appear proper in the 
judgment of the Governor-General and Council. 

The Court cautioned the Government against 
sudden transitions from one mode to another, in 
the management and collection of the revenues, 
as being calculated to alarm the inhabitants. At 
the same time they admitted the importance of 
ascertaining with precision, as far as possible, what 
revenue could be properly collected from the 
country without oppression. As the distance of 
many of the districts from Calcutta, would render 
it necessary for the zemindars or farmers to treat 
with the provincial councils, or other agents of 
the Company, hereditary zemindars were to be 
continued, where they could with safety to the 
revenues, and were to enjoy their zemindarries 
on terms sufficiently moderate that they might 
maintain a degree of respect amongst their depen- 
dants. This object the Court directed might be 
kept in view in every agreement made with them. 
After having ascertained the various taxes or collec- 
tions that had been imposed upon the districts 



1776-78. since the Company's acquisition of the dewanny, 
the Council were authorised to abolish the whole, 
or such part thereof, as might appear to weigh 
oppressively on the country. Wherever lands had 
been let at a reasonable rate, and the zemindar or 
renter fulfilled his engagements to the satisfaction 
of the Government, no such party was to be dis- 
possessed of, or compelled to pay an advanced 
rent, without the most substantial reasons for such 
advance, and even then the occupant was to have 
the preference over all others, and to be suffered 
to continue at a moderate additional rent. But in 
all instances where the increased value should not 
be considerable enough to become an object to 
Government, no zemindar or renter was to be 
dispossessed or molested, but permitted to enjoy 
the fruits of his industry and improvements, and 
to renew his lease or agreement from year to year, 
without any increased rent. 

If the provincial councils were not found to 
answer the intended purposes of their appointment, 
the Government were directed to form a new plan 
for the collection of the revenues, and submit the 
same to the Court's consideration.* 

Only four months had elapsed from the despatch 
of the foregoing instructions to Bengal, when the 
Directors received an account of the measures 
adopted in pursuance of the Governor-general's 

* Letter to Bengal, February 1777. 


minute of November 1776. The Court lost no I776-7S. 
time in conveying the expression of their surprise Bekgau 
and concern, that after seven years' investigation, 
the information was still so incomplete, as to 
render necessary another and still more extraor- 
dinary innovation than any of the former. The 
Directors remarked, that in 1769, supervisors were 
nominated expressly to investigate the subject. 
In 1770 controlling councils of revenue were sub- 
stituted. In 1772, the office of Naib Dewan was 
abolished, natives were discarded, and a com- 
mittee of circuit formed, who it was stated had 
ascertained, distinctly and precisely, what was 
necessary to be known — but now, two senior 
servants, with the assistance of a few natives, 
were to be employed to collect and adjust mate- 
rials. The Directors did not disapprove of the 
attempt to get additional information, but express- 
ed their decided disapprobation of the conduct of 
the majority. They observed that the Governor- 
general had no power to act upon his own respon- 
sibility — they fully concurred in the views of 
General Clavering and Mr. Francis, and were led 
to believe that the Governor-general had availed 
himself of Colonel Monson's death to act as he 
had done. They expressed their astonishment at 
natives being deputed on the intended investiga- 
tion, and observed, if a committee of circuit 
and council of revenue, composed of the most 
intelligent of our servants, and armed with all the 
vol. i. 2 n power 


1776-78. power of the Presidency, could not obtain the 

necessary information, from whence were the 

natives to acquire it?" * 

JfM^'Hast' 011 ^ n mc ^ ent na( * occurred shortly before this 

, ings J en i ered time, in England, which led to the belief that a 

by Mr. Mac- . 

leane. change would have forthwith taken place in the 

Supreme Government. 

On the 11th October, a letter was received by 
the Court of Directors, dated the 10th of that 
month, from Lachlan Macleane, Esq., to the fol- 
lowing effect : — 

" Gentlemen : — 

" Mr. Hastings seeing the necessity of unanimity in 
the Supreme Council in Bengal, for conducting the affairs 
of the Company there, and for establishing any permanent 
system of government for the good and prosperity of that 
country, and finding from the unhappy divisions which have 
subsisted in the Supreme Council, that such union is not 
likely to subsist, and having anxiously, on every occasion, 
studied to promote the welfare of the Company, a conduct 
which he will ever continue, has ' from these motives 
authorised, empowered, and directed me to signify to you 
his desire to resign his office of Governor-general of Bengal, 
and to request your nomination of a successor to the vacancy 
which will thereby be occasioned in the Supreme Council. 

" L. Macleane.*" 

« London, 10th October 1 776:' 

The Court, in order to satisfy themselves of the 
authority under which Mr. Macleane acted, in a 
matter of such very great importance, desired his 


* Letter from Bengal, July 1777. 


attendance. On being introduced, he expressed -1776-78. 
his readiness to give the Directors every satisfac- 
tion on the point, but as the subject was mixed 
up with others of a nature extremely confidential, 
he was prepared to submit the same to the in- 
spection of any three members of the Court, and 
then withdrew. 

The Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, and 
Richard Becher, Esq., were empowered to make 
such inspection. On the 23d October, they re- 
ported to the Court, that having conferred with Mr. 
Macleane on the subject of his letter presented to 
the Court on the 11th, they found that, from the 
purport of Mr. Hastings' instructions, contained 
in a paper in his own hand- writing, given to 
Mr. Macleane, and produced by him to them, 
" Mr. Hastings declares he will not continue in 
the government of Bengal, unless certain con- 
ditions therein specified can be obtained," of which 
they see no probability : and Mr. George Vansit- 
tart has declared to them, that he was present 
when these instructions were given to Mr. Mac- 
leane, and when Mr. Hastings empowered Mr. 
Macleane to declare his resignation to the Court. 
Mr. Stewart likewise confirmed to them, that 
Mr. Hastings declared to him, that he had given 
directions to the above purpose by Mr. Macleane. 

The Court conceiving that Mr. Macleane was 
acting upon full authority, unanimously resolved 
to accept the proposed resignation. 

2 n 2 Mr, 


1776-78. Mr. Wheler was appointed to succeed to the 

Bengal ' office in the Council, which would become vacant 
by the said resignation, subject to His Majesty's 

A memorial from the Court of Directors to his 
Majesty, praying that effect might be given to 
the foregoing measures, was approved by the 
Company's counsel, and transmitted to Lord 
Weymouth, for the purpose of being laid before 
the King ; which memorial, after being amended 
agreeably to a suggestion made by his Lordship, 
was presented to his Majesty, who was graciously 
pleased to approve of Mr. Wheler's appointment. 
A commission of government was accordingly 
prepared, declaring that, on the resignation of 
Mr. Hastings, General Clavering would succeed 
as Governor-general under the Act, and that 
Mr. Wheler would succeed as councillor under the 
foregoing appointment. 
1777. The first official proceeding which appears to 

S^o?at g9 nave taken place in Bengal, on the measures at 
Calcutta. home, occurred on the 20th June, when Mr. 

Barwell, as he was proceeding to the council 
chamber, received a note signed "J. P. Auriol, 
Secretary," requesting him to meet in council 
by order of General Clavering, "Governor-gene- 
ral." At the same time a letter was presented to 
Mr. Hastings from General Clavering, requiring 
him to deliver up the keys of Fort William and 
of the Company's treasury. 



Mr. Hastings replied that he knew of no act of 1777. 
resignation on his part and that it was his deter- 
mination to retain the office: he then caused an 
injunction to be issued in writing to Colonel 
Morgan, the commandant of Fort William, not to 
obey any other orders than those from Mr. 
Hastings as Governor-general. A summons was 
issued by Mr. Hastings to Mr. Francis to meet in 
council, and Mr. Auriol, the secretary, received 
instructions to issue orders for a meeting of the 
Council through Mr. Hastings only. The judges 
were also assembled at the instance of Mr. 
Hastings, for the purpose of their opinion being 
obtained on the critical position in which the Go- 
vernment was placed. Mr. Barwell had ineffec- 
tually endeavoured to obtain a perusal of the 
letter from the Court of Directors, purporting to 
convey their orders as to the new Government. 

Instructions were sent off to the commandants 
at Bankipore, Dinapore, and to Mr. Baber, the 
chief commissioner of the Council at Moorsheda- 
bad to obey only the orders of the Governor- 
general under the Act of Parliament. 

The Court's instructions, with the whole of the 
papers, having been submitted for the opinion of the 
judges at Calcutta, they expressed their opinion 
"unanimously, clearly, and decidedly, that Mr. 
Hastings had not resigned. It was quite evident that 
he was not dead, that he was not removed, and 
that he had not resigned." Adverting to Colonel 



1777. Macleane's letter, they remarked that it was no re- 
signation but the expression of a desire to resign, 
and that the appointment of Mr. Wheler was to an 
office which would become vacant and not which 
had; and that the resignation of the Governor 
general was a proposed resignation. This, and no 
other, the judges observed, could be the Court's 
intention. In conclusion the four judges stated, 
"we have given the papers and the subject several 
hours' consideration, wishing to deliver such an 
opinion as from the reasoning of it, not from its 
authority, might claim weight sufficient to prevent 
the fatal consequences of a divided government, 
but we do assure you that none of the time has 
been taken up in settling a difference of opinion. 
There is not one point of it, from the first to the 
last, in which we have not entirely concurred. 
We transmit it in strong hopes that it may have 
that effect, the consideration of which could only 
have led us to deliver any opinion at all, and most 
ardently praying God that it may avert the mis- 
chiefs which seem to impend over the East-India 
Company and this country." 

On the 21st June, a proclamation was agreed 
to by General Clavering as Governor- general, 
which was ordered to be translated into the 
Persian and Bengallee languages. The Persian 
translator felt it to be his duty to decline trans- 
lating it without the order of the Governor- 



General Clavering took the following oath as 1777. 
Governor-general, "I swear that I will faithfully Bengal « 
and diligently discharge the duties of Governor- 
general of this presidency of Fort William. " In 
dictating the minutes of council he designated 
himself as Governor-general. It was also resolved 
that the commandants of stations should be 
directed to send their returns to the Governor- 
general, until a new commander-in-chief was 

On the 22d June, the Council being assembled 
by Mr. Hastings, they resolved that General 
Clavering had actually superseded, assumed, and 
taken possession of the place and office of Governor- 
general, and of the Presidency of Fort William. 

That he had relinquished," resigned, surrendered, 
and vacated the office of second member of coun- 
cil, and 

That he had also relinquished, resigned, sur- 
rendered, and vacated the office of commander-in- 

Mr. Hastings then preferred a charge against 
Mr. Auriol, for having acted as secretary to the 
Council, without instructions from him as Go- 
venor-general, and it was made a standing order 
that in future all principal secretaries should 
attend the Governor- general and Council when 
assembled, and that they should not attend offi- 
cially or receive orders from any individual mem- 
ber of the Board. 



1777. When any member should call for the proceed- 

Eengal. - n ^ Qne Q £ the deputy secretaries, or one of the 

clerks was to attend him. The members present 

at this meeting of the Council were, Mr. Hastings, 

Mr. Barwell, and Mr. Francis. 

On the 24th June, Mr. Francis recorded a 
minute in which he remarked "every thing is at 
stake, every thing has been hazarded, I fear, by 
some degree of passion and a great degree of pre- 
cipitation; much may be retrieved by prudence 
and moderation. I trust it will appear that I have 
given a signal example of both, not only in my 
immediate and implicit acquiescence in the deci- 
sion of the judges, but in my present attendance 
here. Let me have the honour and happiness of 
assuming the character of mediator." 

This judicious and well-timed minute, and the 
further opinion of the judges which had been 
sought on the occasion of General Clavering's as- 
suming the office of Governor-general, and thereby 
vacating that of commander-in-chief, led Mr. 
Hastings to move in council on the 25th : "That, 
under the advice of the judges, the Council do 
recede from putting into execution all their resolu- 
tions passed since the 20th instant, and that all 
parties should be placed in the same situation in 
which they stood before the receipt of those 
orders. This resolution was unanimously agreed 
to. Thus terminated a matter which, but for the 
opinion of the bench and the interposition of Mr. 



Francis, might have involved the settlement in 1777-78. 
anarchy and confusion. Bengal. 

Mr. Hastings addressed the Court of Directors 
on the subject, on the 15th August. 

" No event of my life ever befel me for which I was so 
little prepared as the news of the notification made by 
Colonel Macleane. Your acceptance of that notification, 
your nomination of Mr. Wheler, your application to the 
King for its approval, and his Majesty's approval thereof — 
acts so solemn in their profession, so important in respect 
to their object, and concluded by an authority so sacred, 
that although I knew them to be invalid, the grounds on 
which they were built being defective, yet my confidence 
forsook me, and I thought of nothing but to submit 
myself to the hard lot which had been imposed upon me. 
I could not disavow the declaration made by Colonel 
Macleane, without appearing adverse to a man who had 
given me the most undoubted proofs of his friendship, 
and even in this instance in which he exceeded his powers, 
had been actuated, I knew, by a sincere and honest, though 
a mistaken and too precipitate zeal to serve me. I could 
not arraign the justice of those whose approbation I have 
ever sought as the first reward of my fidelity and incessant 
toils for their service; neither would the high respect which 
I bear to an instrument having his Majesty's royal signature, 
however obtained, allow me without the greatest reluctance 
to disclaim the principle on which its effects depended. 
On the other hand, I could not ratify the promise which 
had been made in my name, without making an ungrateful 
return to the Company for the honourable support which 
they had so successfully bestowed upon me, nor without 
branding my own character with falsehood and deception, 
after the repeated protestations publicly and loudly made 
by me, that no consideration of private convenience nor im- 


1777-78. patience of injury should prevail upon me, to make a vo- 
Bengal. luntary surrender of the trust which had been committed to 
me ; but that I would retain my seat in this Government 
until a clear decision was passed between me and my op- 
ponents in it, or until I should be removed from it by 

Not having been able to learn the authorities 
upon which so uncommon a measure had been 
concluded, he observed, 

" I am compelled to declare, that I do not hold myself 
bound by the notification of Mr. Macleane, nor by any 
of the acts consequent of it.*" 

In support of his decision, as one which had 
been governed by the sentiments he invariably 
expressed regarding his intention, notwithstanding 
the measures of his opponents, to retain his office 
until removed from it by competent authority, he 
referred to various extracts from his former letters 
as corroborative of such a determination : and 
then remarked, 

" From what had passed here and in England since tlfe 
constitution of the new government of Bengal, my mind 
had been framed to the expectation and patient endurance 
of any event which I thought could have befallen me; but 
I must own that it was unequal to the last, for surely 
nothing can exceed the humiliation of being deprived of a 
trust of the first importance perhaps under the British 
Empire, by an imputed act of my own, without even the 
formality to verify it, which would have been required 
for the acceptance of a common note of exchange. *" 


* Bengal Revenue Consultations, June 1777. 


Throughout the whole of this extraordinary 1777-78. 
proceeding, the Court of Directors appear to have Bengal - 
been governed by a simple desire to give effect to 
what they believed to be the express wish of Mr. 
Hastings. They j ustly deemed it a matter of such 
very great importance that they thought fit to 
obtain all the proof they could of Mr. Macleane's 
authority. They were satisfied with the proof 
adduced in support of it; and, in order to avoid 
all error in framing the commission under which 
they for the first time exercised the power of ap- 
pointing a new councillor subject to the approval 
of the Crown, they submitted the instrument for 
the opinion of counsel under whose sanction it 
was issued, never, however, for a moment contem- 
plating that the subject would become matter for 
judicial decision in India. This circumstance 
presented another instance of the inexpediency of 
acting in matters of grave importance, affecting 
both the interest of individuals and the welfare of 
the Government, upon mere private authority, 
however apparently sanctioned. The Court pub- 
licly animadverted upon a course which had led 
them, as well as Mr. Hastings' agents, into a most 
erroneous conception of his meaning, and they 
expressed their decided opinion that Mr. Macleane 
had been invested with full powers by Mr. 
Hastings, who, it was clear, had evidently specified 
some distinct propositions requiring something 
to be done or performed as the condition of the 



1777-78. Governor- general being confirmed in the Government, 
Bengal. r^ Q ourt rem arked that Mr. Hastings was at 
that time, and had been for many years in full 
possession of the Government, and he had also been 
actually recently confirmed therein by a most 
solemn Act of Parliament, which Act was full and 
complete, and stood in no need of confirmation, 
of which he must have been aware when he gave 
instructions to his agents.* 

General Sir John Clavering, after an illness of 
fourteen days, expired on the 30th of August, and 
was succeeded in the temporary command of the 
army by General Stibbert. The Court of Directors, 
before official accounts reached them of the event, 
addressed the Supreme Government, stating that, 
to their inexpressible concern, they had received 
undoubted intelligence of the death of Sir John 
Clavering. They passed a warm eulogium on his 
public conduct, which they felt had entitled him 
to their highest esteem and confidence, and they 
considered his death a great public loss to the East- 
India Company and to his country. f 

Lieutenant-general Sir Eyre Coote was nomi- 
nated to the Bengal Council, and commander-in- 
chief of all the Company's forces in India. 

The decease of Colonel Monson and General 
Clavering, both of whom had been instrumental 
in promoting the treaty concluded by Colonel 


* Letter to Bengal, December 1778. 
t Letter to Bengal, May 1778. 


Upton, left the majority of the Supreme Council 1777-78. 
and the presidency of Bombay agreed as to the Ben qal. 
course to be followed with regard to the Mahrattas. 

The Supreme Government resolved, that the 
Bombay presidency were warranted by the treaty 
of Porr under in supporting Ragobah ; that the 
British government were also entitled to anyfurther 
advantages that might be obtained by negotiation, 
as a compensation for the hazard and expense in- 
curred by their interposition and assistance. The 
Court of Directors, in a despatch to Bengal of the 
5th February 1777, expressed their concern that 
the cession of Bassein by Ragobah had not been 
effected. The defeat of Hurry Punt the Mah- 
ratta by Hyder, and the intestine broils at Poonah, 
determined the Council at Calcutta to despatch a 
force under Colonel Leslie, overland, from Bengal 
to Bombay. It commenced its march from Cal- 
pee on the 4th May 1778. Captain Munro, with 
a detachment of the force, was cut off by some 
ravaging horse a short distance from that place. 

The progress of the force was so slow, and 
Colonel Leslie manifested such want of judgment 
in forming an unauthorized treaty with some 
native chiefs on the route, that the Government 
appointed Colonel Goddard to take charge of it. 
He was also authorized to supply the place of Mr. 
Elliott, a civilian, who died as he was proceeding 
on a mission to Berar, in order to effect a treaty 
with the rajah of that province, in furtherance of 



1777-78. the policy determined upon, to enable him to en- 
force his claims to the throne of the Ram Rajah ; 
and also by establishing himself in the Mahratta 
empire, to give him effectual support against the 

In November 1778, the Bombay Council sent 
forward Captain Stuart with a detachment of gre- 
nadier sepoys to take possession of the Boru Ghaut, 
a pass through the mountains of much importance 
as opening the way to Poonah, which was w r ithin 
fifty miles of it. The object was effected, and the 
pass fortified. 

The remainder of the forces left Bombay on the 
23d November. They took possession of the fort of 
Billapore, which guarded the entrance of Pan well 
river, where they were joined by Colonel Eger- 
ton, who assumed the chief command of the army, 
consisting of 100 European artillery, 539 European 
infantry, and 2,689 sepoys, together with 600 ar- 
tillery lascars. The forces arrived at Pan well on 
the 25th, and on the 13th December reached Cam- 
poly, at the foot of the ghaut, where Messrs. 
Mostyn and Carnac joined Colonel Egerton, with 
whom they formed a committee for the general 
conduct of the expedition. 

On the 1st January they marched from Condal, 
a village immediately beyond the pass. On the 
route they were harassed by the enemy, who ap- 
peared with a body of 10,000 horse. Lieutenant- 
colonel Cay was mortally wounded by a rocket. 



On the 4th, the army advanced towards Poonah, 1777-78. 
where they suffered a great loss in the death of bengal. 
Captain Stuart. 

Colonel Egerton shortly afterwards relinquished 
the command from ill-health, and was succeeded 
by Lieutenant-colonel Cockburn. On the 9th they 
reached Corrygaum, a considerable town about 
sixteen miles from Poonah, but which had been pre- 
viously burnt and abandoned. Instead of finding 
supporters of the pretensions of Ragobah, it was 
discovered that the enemy were in great force un- 
der the orders of the Poonah ministers. It was 
accordingly determined to fall back, as far as might 
be requisite to secure supplies and to preserve a 
communication with the Concan, or the country 
below the Ghauts. They were attacked in the 
retreat on the morning of the 11th before daylight, 
by the enemy, who had received intelligence of 
their intended movement. The attack was con- 
tinued until four o'clock in the afternoon, when 
the army effected its retreat to Worgaum. 

On the 14th, Messrs. Holmes and Farmer were 
despatched to the Mahratta camp to propose terms 
of accommodation. Nothing short of the surren- 
der of Ragobah could induce the enemy to enter 
upon the consideration of terms. Ragobah de- 
sired, in the hope of effecting an arrangement, to 
proceed to the Mahrattas. Madajee Scindiah 
also declared that a new treaty must be entered 
into, as that concluded by Colonel Upton had been 



1777-78. completely broken. A convention was signed at 
Worgaum,* by which Ragobah was to be given 
up, and Salsette and the other conquered coun- 
tries restored to the Mahrattas ; Messrs. Farmer 
and Stuart remaining as hostages until the treaty 
was confirmed by the Bombay Government. They 
refused to ratify it : and in this refusal they were 
supported by the Supreme Government. 

Moodajee Bhonsla, the rajah of Berar, although 
aware of the object entertained by the Supreme 
Government in supporting his pretensions to the 
throne of the Ram Rajah, used every exertion to 
produce a friendly understanding between the 
courts of Poonah and Calcutta, and effected the 
dismissal of some French officers of note from the 
former city. At the same time he expostulated 
with the Governor- general against the expedition 
of Colonel Goddard, and pointed out the danger 
to which the detachment would necessarily be 
exposed in passing through the Mahratta states. 
His representation was ineffectual. Colonel 
Goddard was sent forward, and though made ac- 
quainted on his route with the convention of Wor- 
gaum, by which he was to return to Calcutta, he 
proceeded on his march, and reached Surat in 
February 1779, with full powers to treat with the 
Mahrattas for the restoration of peace on that 
side of India, but with strict injunctions against 
admitting the French, or giving up any of the 


* Vide Printed Treaties, page 552. 


conquests or accessions. Colonel Goddard had 1778-79. 
been advanced to the rank of brigadier-general. Bengal. 

Before entering upon his mission, a circum- 
stance unexpectedly occurred which it was con- 
jectured might lead to very important results. 
Ragobah, since his separation from the English 
forces at Telligaum, had remained under charge 
of Madaj£e Scindiah, who, though desirous of 
retaining possession of his person with a view to 
political advantages, treated him with every mark 
of respect, and even left his artillery and most of 
the forces he had brought with him from Bombay, 
to accompany him on the march to the place 
destined for his reception, Scindiah's dewan, with 
4,000 horse, being appointed to escort him. They 
reached the Nerbuddah : when, preparing to cross 
that river, Ragobah attempted to make his escape. 
An action ensued between his forces and those of 
the Dewan : the latter was mortally wounded, 
and his troops totally routed. Ragobah imme- 
diately proceeded towards Broach with 4,000 
horse and twenty guns, and joined General God- 
dard's camp on the 13th June 1779. 

The Supreme Government, anticipating the 
probability of the Poonah durbar protracting the 
negotiation with General Goddard, desired him 
to demand, within twenty-four hours, a definitive 
answer to the propositions then under discussion ; 
and to intimate that refusal or delay would be 
construed into a declaration of war. The vakeel 

vol. i. 2 o from 


1780. from Poonah declared that no peace would be 
Bengal. made unless Salsette was relinquished and Rago- 
bah delivered up : hostilities were accordingly 
determined upon.* 

At the instance of the Bombay Council, Goddard 
concluded a treaty with Futty Sing Guicowar, on 
the 26th January 1780, who ceded to the Company 
a portion of Guzerat, south of the Tappey, known 
by the name of Attaveezy, with their share of the 
revenues of Surat,| and engaged to supply 3,000 
horse ; in return for which he was to have Ahme- 
dabad and other possessions, from which the 
government of Poonah was to be entirely excluded. 
Goddard besieged and took Ahmedabad, the capital 
of Guzerat, by storm on the 15th February 1780, 
and on the 28th, in pursuance of the treaty, Futty 
Sing was put in possession of the city and country 
of Ahmedabad. After concluding this arrange- 
ment, Goddard proposed moving with all expedi- 
tion to meet the combined army, which had 
between twenty and thirty thousand horse. For 
this purpose he sent off his heavy artillery and 
stores to Surat. He left Ahmedabad on the 2d 
March, and moved with such rapidity, that on the 
8th he arrived within two miles of Baroda and six- 
teen of the camp of Scindiaand Holkar, which he 
intended to have attacked that night had not over- 
tures been made by Scindia through Messrs. Far- 

* Letter from Bengal, 14th January 1780. 
f Vide Printed Treaties, page 555. 


mer and Stuart, the hostages, who had been re- nso. 
leased from the Mahratta camp to treat with the Bengal - 
English. The aggrandizement of Scindia and the 
possession of Ragobah appearing to be the objects, 
the overtures were rejected, and on the 3d April 
the Mahratta force was completely defeated by 
Goddard. Subsequent engagements took place 
with various English detachments, in which the 
Mahrattas were repulsed and dispersed. The most 
important was the surrender of Bassein to the 
forces under Goddard, on the 20th December, 
after which the English army went into quarters for 
the rainy season. During these operations the sup- 
plies remitted from Bengal to Madras and Bombay 
amounted to nearly a crore of rupees. 

In order to improve the financial resources of salt monopoly 
the Government, Mr. Hastings proposed that the resume ■ 
salt monopoly should be resumed in behalf of the 
Company. This article was supplied to the inha- 
bitants from what was obtained from the earth 
impregnated with sea-salt at the mouth of the 
Ganges, betwen Balasore and Chittagong. The 
inland trade in salt had been vested in an exclusive 
company for the benefit of the European servants, 
but discontinued by the Court's orders of 1766. 
Restrictions had been introduced to secure the 
interests of the natives. The trade was thrown 
open, but regulations were framed to preserve the 


* Letter from Bengal, 6th January 1781. 
2 o 2 


1778 79. public against the monopoly of opulent natives 
combining to oppress the manufacturers. In 1772, 
the salt in every part of the province was placed 
on the same footing : it was to be manufactured 
for the Company, and the manufactories in each 
district were let for five years. A certain quantity 
was to be delivered to the Company at a given 
price, to be dealt out to the native conductors of 
the inland trade, who had made advances to aid 
the farmers in the payment of their labourers em- 
ployed in the manufacture. In 1777, the practice 
of farming was continued, but the produce was 
left to the farmer's disposal. As the amount of 
revenue was not equal to what a more judicious 
management would yield, a new system was sug- 
gested by Mr. Hastings,* under which all the salt 
was to be manufactured for the Company, and 
sold for ready money at moderate fixed rates, to be 
ascertained and published at the beginning of 
every season by the Governor-general in council. 
The suggestion of Mr. Hastings was strongly op- 
posed by the Council, but the result more than 
justified the Governor-general's anticipations. 
The first three years yielded a net revenue of 
£464,000, and the three years before the govern- 
ment of Lord Cornwallis, of £522,450. 

Parties of the Seiks, having crossed the Ganges, 
entered Rohilcund and commenced depredations; 


* Consultations, September, October, and November 1780. 
Letter from Bengal, November 1782. 


but were soon repulsed by the temporary brigade, 1778-79. 
a portion of which was detached to the Ghauts for Benga1 - 
the purpose. Fyzula Cawn at this time offered 
to raise and maintain a force in aid of the Company 
during the war with France, and without hesitation 
immediately formed a body of five hundred men. 

The Rana of Gohud, then described as " a Treaty with 
chief south of Agra," made overtures for effecting hud. 
a treaty with the Company to secure himself 
against the Mahrattas. The terms were agreed 
to and signed on the 2d December. The Com- 
pany were to furnish a force for the defence of his 
country on paying 20,000 Muchildar rupees for 
each battalion of sepoys ; nine-sixteenths of any 
acquisitions were to go to the Company. The 
Rana was to furnish 10,000 horse, whose com- 
bined operations might be determined on against 
the Mahrattas. Whenever peace took place 
between the Company and the Mahrattas, the 
Rana was to be included, and his present posses- 
sions, with the fort of Gwalior, were to be gua- 
ranteed to him.* 

The state of the national interests at home had Difficulties of 
at all times a material influence on those of the increased P by y 
Company ; who derived temporary pecuniary aid atliome* a "" s 
at particular junctures by advances under votes of 
Parliament, which advances were invariably repaid 
to the country. It was not, however, so much from 
the want of money, as in the supply of physical 


* Treaty, 2d December 1779. 


1778-79. force that they experienced the greatest difficulty. 

Bengal. Their commerce suffered from the inadequacy of 
naval protection, and their European arm was 
essentially crippled in India, from the impos- 
sibility of procuring a sufficient number of re- 

Never were these effects more seriously felt 
than in the years 1778-9. Great Britain had to 
contend with her revolted colonies ; the attempt 
to detach France from America failed, and Bri- 
tish ships were seized in French ports without the 
country possessing the means of retaliation. The 
inefficient force placed at the command of Admiral 
Keppel constrained him to return to port in the 
face of the enemy, and ultimately led to his trial 
and highly honourable acquittal by a court-mar- 
tial at Portsmouth, followed by the thanks of 
Parliament ; where a motion was made to remove 
Earl Sandwich from the head of the Admiralty. 
The effect of such a state of things could not fail 
to reach India. It was severely felt from the 
superiority of the French fleet in that quarter. 
The Government of Bengal devised all possible 
means to add to the force under Admiral Sir 
Edward Vernon. The Company's ship Resolution 
was equipped as a vessel of war, and mounted 
with forty guns ; the ship Charlotte was pur- 
chased by the Council, and fitted in the same 
manner; and a marine was prepared for the 
defence of the river, consisting of one forty- 


gun frigate, three cruizers, and some pilot 1778-79. 
vessels. Bengal - 

The secret committee of the Court of Directors 
forwarded intelligence overland, via Cairo, of the 
declaration of war in London on the 18th March, 
and at Paris on the 30th. They also issued orders 
to the Supreme Council to take immediate mea- 
sures for the reduction of Pondicherry.* A nego- 
tiation was also to be opened with Hyder, who 
had evinced a disposition to enter into an alliance 
with the Company ; and such was the critical 
situation of national affairs, and so strong was the 
apprehension of an invasion from the inveterate 
enemies of the realm, that the energies of the 
country were called forth in every quarter, and 
the very existence of the constitution was con- 
sidered to depend upon the maintenance of its 
naval superiority against the combined forces of 
France and Spain. 

The East-India Company, at this juncture, Company's 

r J J # 'aid to public. 

passed a resolution in General Court, to give three 
guineas each to the first 2,000 able-bodied sea- 
men ; two guineas to each of the 2,000 ordinary 

seamen ; 

* In April 1779, the General Court of Proprietors voted 
unanimous thanks to the Secret Committee, for the spirited 
orders they issued for operations against Pondicherry and the 
French, and presented them with five hundred and three hun- 
dred guineas for the purchase of plate. Thanks were also voted 
to Sir Hector Munro and Admiral Sir Edward Vernon, to each 
of whom a sword set with diamonds was presented, valued at 
750 guineas. 


1778-79. seamen ; and one-and-a-half to each 2,000 able- 
bodied landsmen who should voluntarily enter to 
serve on board his Majesty's fleet, over and above 
all other bounties. They further resolved to build, 
with all possible despatch, three ships of war of 
seventy-four guns each, with masts and yards, to 
be delivered to such officer as his Majesty should 
appoint to receive them. This is one of the nu- 
merous instances in which the Company's ex- 
tended means enabled them to come forward, and 
effectually aid the national resources in periods of 
great difficulty. 

incursions of Some of the districts on the frontiers between 
Chittagong and Luckypore, as well as the island 
of Sundeep, had been infested with a set of 
people called Muggs, who inhabited the kingdom 
of Arracan. They supported themselves by 
plundering their neighbours, and seizing and car- 
rying off the ryots who fell in their way. Their 
appearance cast a dread into the inhabitants, and 
produced the desertion of many families. 

Efforts were made to repress them by means of 
the troops at Dacca and Chittagong, with the as- 
sistance of armed boats from Dacca, and a cruizer 
on the coast of Arracan. The government also 
proposed a plan for making reprisals on the 
country of the Muggs, in the hope that, at all 
events, it would deter them for a time from re- 
peating their invasion. 



The Nabob of Bengal, Mobarek-ul-Dowla, was 1778-79. 
at this time admitted to the full control and Bengal. 
management of his own affairs. They had hitherto Bengal. 
been conducted by Mahomed Reza Cawn. 

Mr. Hastings, in the midst of his other varied 
and important avocations, did not lose sight of the 
interests of science and literature. 

A copy of the Mahomedan laws had been 
translated by Mr. Anderson, under the sanction 
and patronage of the Government, and sent home 
to the Court, together with the Bengal Grammar, 
prepared by Messrs. Halhed and Wilkins, five 
hundred copies being taken by the Government at 
thirty rupees a copy, as an encouragement to 
their labours. Mr. Wilkins * was also supported 
in erecting and working a press for the purpose 
of printing official papers, &c. 

The Madrissa or Mahomedan college, for the 
education of the natives, was established by the 
Government. In order to open a communication 
by the Red Sea with Europe, the Government 
built a vessel at Mocha, having been assured that 
every endeavour would be made to secure the 
privilege of despatches, with the Company's seal, 
being forwarded with facility ; the trade with Suez 
having been prohibited to all British subjects, on 
a complaint to the King's ministers by the Ottoman 


* The late Sir Charles Wilkins, the much respected librarian 
to the Court of Directors. 



[Chap. X. 


from Cochin 

That distinguished servant of the Company, 
Major Rennell, was at this time brought to the 
special notice of the Court of Directors. His 
well known abilities, in promoting the success of 
navigation, had secured great advantage to the pub- 
lic interests. His employment as surveyor-general 
had too much exposed him to the effects of the 
climate, and as the dangerous wounds which he 
had received in the course of surveys from the 
Synassies obliged him to quit India, the Govern- 
ment recommended him in the strongest manner to 
the favourable consideration of the Court. His 
Memoir of Bengal, with his Atlas of that country, 
his Geography of Herodotus, and his Retreat of 
the Ten Thousand, formed part of his valuable 
labours. After his return to England, he filled an 
appointment in immediate connexion with the 
Court of Directors, until his death, which took 
place at a very advanced age. 

Two mandarins of rank having been driven 
through stress of weather, from the coast of Cochin 
China, attended by a Portuguese missionary, 
reached Calcutta. They were treated with every 
mark of attention by the Government, and provided 
with attendants and residence. The Government 
availed themselves of the opportunity, to attempt 
opening a commercial intercourse with Cochin 
China. They ordered the Amazon, snow, to be in 
readiness to convey back the mandarins, with 
whom they determined to send Mr. Chapman, 



of the civil service, with a letter to the prince 1778-79. 
of the country, and authorized him to avail Bengal - 
himself of any opening for securing a treaty of 


Letter from Bengal, April 1778. 




The affairs of the Company at this time 
engaged much of the attention of parliament. In 
1779, an Act had been passed, declaring that the 
£1,400,000, borrowed of the public, had been 
repaid by the Company, and that as their 
bond debt was reduced to £1,500,000, they 
were authorized to declare a dividend of 8 per 
cent. The territorial acquisitions and revenues, 
were also to remain with them for another year, 
and the persons, who, at the passing of the Act, 
were in the offices of Governor-general and Coun- 
cillors, in Bengal, were to hold the same during 
its continuance. In the following session, Lord 
North acquainted the House, that the Company 
had not made such proposals for a renewal of their 
Charter as were deemed satisfactory, and he 
therefore moved, that the Speaker should give the 
three years' notice required by the Act, previously 
to the cessation of their exclusive privileges of 
trade. Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke strongly opposed 
the minister, and asked whether he was not con- 
tent with having lost America ? Whether he could 
point out a single benefit which his motion was 
capable of producing, and whether he desired to 



behold those scenes of anarchy, confusion, distress 1779-80. 
and ruin, which his idle and impotent threat 
might produce in the Company's possessions and 
affairs in India. Mr. Fox enquired of the minister 
how he was to secure and bring home the revenue, 
but through the Company, and whether his pre- 
sent proposition manifested that gratitude to the 
East- India Company, to whom his country was so 
highly indebted. He imputed the bad under- 
standing between the Company and the noble 
lord, to his having attempted to possess himself of 
the patronage of the Company. This latter remark 
called up Lord North, who denied having had any 
intention to secure the patronage, " It was an 
assertion wholly unmerited, and not founded in 

In order to give further time for deliberation, an 
Act was passed continuing the same privileges to 
the Company as in the preceding year, to be com- 
puted as commencing from the 5th April 1780.f 

Whilst these measures were in progress at Bengal. 
home, the Company's affairs in India were daily 
increasing in interest, and called for the exercise 
of proportional judgment on the part of those who 
were entrusted with their management. Some 
detachments of troops having arrived at Fort 
St. George, on their way to Calcutta, the neces- 

* Parliamentary History, 1780, vol. xxi. f 20 Geo. Ill, cap. 56. 


1779-8O. sities of the Madras Presidency were such, as to 
^TdraST 1 induce them to retain a portion of the men. The 
Supreme Government complained in the strongest 
manner, against what they termed such unwarrant- 
able conduct on the part of the Subordinate 
Presidency. They dwelt upon the offensive mode 
in which they had, without the slightest previous 
intimation, been deprived of those military means 
so essential to enable them to fulfil their various 
engagements. The embarrassment occasioned by 
this proceeding, added to the drain which had 
been made upon their finances in supplying the 
wants both of Madras and Bombay, was aggravated 
by the conduct of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. 

Complaint The Council became involved in serious discus- 

against conduct 

of supreme sions with the Bench, who desired to have their 


power acknowledged as co-extensive with that of 
the Government. A process of contempt had been 
issued against the Naib Nazim, the chief native 
magistrate of criminal jurisdiction of the Pro- 
vinces.* It was clear that there was a wide and 
essential difference between the nature of pleas 
to the jurisdiction of the courts of law in Eng- 
land, and of the court established in India : the 
design of the former being to mark the lines 
of separation between the different courts ad- 
ministering the same law to the same people, and 
of the latter, to release from the jurisdiction of the 


* December 1779. 


Supreme Court, persons over whom it had no legal 1779-so. 
right of jurisdiction, who were strangers to the law Bengal - 
which it administered, and were defined by the Act 
under which it was constituted, to be a different 
people, and aliens from the government of England. 
A process had been issued against the Rajah of 
Cossijurah, which would have required bail to the 
extent of £30,000, or, in default of such bail, 
imprisonment for twelve months. To parties un- 
acquainted with the country, and with the cha- 
racter of its inhabitants, it was impossible to form 
an adequate conception of the probable effects of 
such a proceeding. Amongst the stubborn and 
almost immutable usages of a people whom it was 
attempted to drag within the pale of our laws, 
there were not any so intimately blended with 
their natures, so interwoven with their very 
existence, or so likely to drive them to desperation, 
as those which respected their women. And yet 
it was attempted to direct a mandatory process of 
the Court to a woman of the highest caste and 
rank — the Ranee of Rajeshye, who possessed in 
her own right the first great zemindarry in the 
provinces. Secluded as women of her superior rank 
are — equally ignorant of the language, and of the 
purpose of the process, it would certainly have 
been disobeyed. A capias would have followed, the 
execution would have been committed to a band 
of armed ruffians, her house pillaged, her temple 
polluted, the most secret recesses of her family 



1779-80. violated, and that sanctity of character trampled 
Bengal. U p 0n> w hich throughout the East, even in times of 
the fiercest hostility, the most barbarous nations 
revere in women. This extraordinary state of 
things was caused by the hasty introduction of a 
judicial system, ill adapted to the country, and 
wholly unfitted to secure the objects contemplated 
by those who originated the measure. 

Petitions were presented to Parliament from the 
Company, from the Supreme Government, and 
from the British inhabitants in Bengal, setting 
forth the injurious results, and representing that 
unless relief were given, " the Company would 
have ports without trade, possessions without 
revenue, and provinces and laws without inhabi- 

Madras. The Carnatic, which had already suffered so 

dreadfully from the irruptions of Hyder, was again 
to become the scene of severe struggles, for the 
maintenance of the Company's very existence. 

Sir Thomas Rumbold had intimated to the 
Directors his intention to relinquish the govern- 
ment of Madras, on account of his health, in 
January 1780. Mr. Whitehill being the senior 
Councillor, succeeded to the chair. This gentle- 
man had been a party with his predecessor, in 
abolishing the Commission of Circuit, which had 
been established under orders from home, there- 
by imposing upon the Rajahs and Zemindars, 



the trouble, expense, and delay of resorting to 1779-81. 

Madras, for the settlement of points in dispute, Bengal 

that would have been decided by the commission 

on the spot. They had also entered into an 

agreement with Sitteram Rauze, for renting the 

havilly lands for a term of ten years, and had 

appointed him dewan of the Vizianagram district, 

a measure which the Directors considered to inflict 

a cruel and unnecessary degradation on his brother. 

They had likewise disposed of the Guntoor circar 

to the Nabob for a term of ten years. This circar 

had, by treaty, been delivered to the Company 

by Bazalet Jung, in 1779, he receiving from them 

a permanent rent, equal to what his aumils had 

paid to him. 

These proceedings were diametrically opposed Dismissal of 

i i n 1 ta- mi • Sir Thomas 

to the orders of the Directors, lhe motives and Rumbouj and 
principles by which the parties had been governed 
in their adoption appeared so very questionable, 
that Sir Thomas Rumbold, Mr. Whitehill, and Mr. 
Perring were dismissed the Company's service;* 
and on the 17th of January 1781, Lord Macartney 
was appointed governor of Madras. His lordship, 
as was then customary, expressed his acknow- 
ledgment to the Court of Directors, and to the 
Company, in a General Court of Proprietors. On 
the 18th January, the Proprietors being met to 
consider the conduct of Mr. Paul Benfield, Mr. 


* Letter to Madras, 10th January 1781. 
VOL. I. 2 P 






Burke, as proprietor, delivered in a paper, entitled 
heads of objections to be enquired into before Mr. 
Benfield should be allowed to return to India. 
Leave was ultimately granted for that purpose, 
by a vote of 368 to 302. 

The Supreme Government were equally opposed 
with the Directors to the conduct of Mr. Whitehill. 
The Government were represented to have counte- 
nanced the treaty concluded by that gentleman 
with Bazalet Jung, whether to the extent alleged 
by the Madras Council was not apparent, but it 
was clear that orders had been subsequently sent 
from Bengal for relinquishing the circar. The 
Madras government were accused of pertinaciously 
refusing to obey such orders, and of retaining the 
circar in defiance of the peremptory instructions 
from Calcutta. On a previous occasion, in a matter 
connected with the Nizam, the Council at Fort St. 
George disputed the controlling power attempted 
to be exercised by the Supreme Government, and 
had expressed an opinion that the latter possessed 
only a negative power, and that confined to two 
points, viz. orders for declaring war, or for making 
treaties, and not a positive and compelling power, 
extending to all political affairs. 

Hostile views 
of Hyder. 

Considerable jealousy had been created in the 
minds of Hyder and the Nizam by the treaty ; 
both Bazalet Jung and Hyder manifested decided 
intentions of hostility. 



The Nabob, notwithstanding this demonstration, m». 
was wholly inert and indifferent to the preparation Bengal, 
of any force to co-operate with that of the Com- 
pany in the defence of his country. The Madras 
army, although consisting of thirty thousand ef- 
fective men, was broken and dispersed in various 
detached services; some had been sent to join 
General Goddard ; others to the garrisons on the 
Malabar coast ; and a valuable detachment was in 
the Guntoor circar, under Colonel Baillie. Hyder 
had for some months been assembling a large army 
on the frontiers. Aware of the dissensions in the 
Council of Madras, and still alive to the indispo- 
sition manifested by the English to assist him 
against the Mahrattas under the treaty of 1769, 
he determined to resent their conduct.* He ac- 
cordingly commenced operations in the month of 
July 1780, bursting like a torrent into theCarnatic, 
accompanied by the French officers and troops 
whom he had obtained from the Nizam. Terror 
and consternation prevailed at the Presidency. 
The danger became immediate. Sir Hector Munro 
proceeded to take the command of the army at the 
Mount, and an express was sent to Colonel Baillie, 
then in the Guntoor circar, to march towards the 
Presidency, at the same time directing him to take 
such a course as might afford him an opportunity 
of cutting off some of the enemy's convoys. 

Conjeveram was ultimately fixed upon as the 


* Fide page 250. 
2 1' 2 


1779. spot of rendezvous; thither Sir Hector Munro, 
Bengal. w [i\i the army, amounting altogether only to 6,000 
troops, marched from the Mount. 

Hyder, who was before Arcot, raised the siege, 
and managed to throw his army across the course 
which he supposed Colonel Baillie would take to 
join the main body : by other movements evincing 
great dexterity, he induced Sir Hector Munro to 
alter his position, whilst at the same time he de- 
termined to make a decided attack on Colonel 
Baillie's detachment ; for which purpose Tippoo 
Saib, Hyder's son, was sent with a large force, 
consisting of 6,000 infantry, 18,000 cavalry, and 
twelve pieces of cannon. A severe conflict took 
place at Peerambaucum, Tippoo being completely 
repulsed. In consequence of a communication 
from Colonel Baillie after he had defeated Tippoo, 
a force under Colonel Fletcher was sent to his 
relief. Its progress, though conducted in the 
night and with great secrecy, was attempted to be 
intercepted by Hyder, who had exact information, 
through spies, of what was passing; Colonel 
Fletcher changed his route, and effected a junc- 
tion with Colonel Baillie : this point, coupled with 
the defeat of Tippoo, spread dismay through the 
colonel Baillie Mysore army. After much discussion, and in op- 
position to M. Lally, Hyder planned an ambuscade 
through the route Colonel Baillie was to pass, 
enfilading the road with batteries of cannon. The 
commander and men evinced heroic courage, sus- 


taining the contest against an overwhelming force, 1779-82. 
until they were literally borne down and trampled Bengal. 
upon by the horse and elephants ; Colonel Baillie 
himself being severely wounded, and two hundred 
Europeans made prisoners. Sir Hector Munro 
retreated to Chingleput. 

The Governor-general at this critical moment Mr. Hastings 
addressed the Court in order to explain his conduct aid.° pe 
on the occasion of pecuniary aid which had been 
given to the Rajah of Berar, " as well as to avoid 
all appearance of ostentation on his own part." 

He represented that "an unusual tender had been made to 
him on the 26th June 1780, of means to supply the detach- 
ment under Major Carnac, on the invasion of the Mahratta 
dominions beyond Gohud. The money was not his own; he 
had, in fact, no means nor anyright to the sum in question, nor 
would have received it but for the occasion which prompted 
him to avail himself of the accidental means at that instant 
offered to him ; it was converted to the use of the Company : 
a renewed occasion had now arrived on which he had given 
further aid to the Rajah of Berar to the extent of three lacs, 
two on his own account, and one on account of the Company. 
The extreme state of pecuniary distress to which the Go- 
vernment were reduced, led him to express his apprehen- 
sions of the necessity of stopping the provision of an invest- 
ment in the season 1780. If the measure should be adopted 
it would be the result of unavoidable necessity, in which no 
option could be left but the sacrifice of the Company's 
profits, or the hazarding for ever the existence of the Com- 
pany's possessions for the purpose of retaining those profits. 
It was impossible to provide for the vast expense required 
for the subsistence and defence of the other Presidencies, and 
for an investment, in addition to the increasing exigencies of 



J 779-82. Bengal, and all to be raised from its own unassisted re- 
Benoal. sources. They had already been obliged to borrow fifty 
lacs at interest : but such resource would soon cease, whilst 
the exigency would remain the same. Exclusive of foreign 
calls, their wants had increased, and would still further in- 
crease, notwithstanding all the care and economy applied to 
check them, as the places of the troops whom they had been 
constrained to send into the Carnatic, must be supplied for 
service in Bengal. This exertion was demanded for the pre- 
servation of Madras. The whole necessity appearing, by the 
extorted and palliated confession of the Nizam, to have been 
occasioned by his having instigated the confederacy in conse- 
quence of the conduct of the Madras government towards 
him. ,, 

After this statement regarding the finances, 
Mr. Hastings referred to a measure he had de- 
vised for drawing off Madaj^e Scindia from the 
Mahrattas, and for extending the Company's 
dominion, which plan he was constrained to 
abandon in consequence of the dreadful calamity 
that had befallen the Madras arms, and to change 
his object to one of preservation.* 

The Supreme Council, in support of their con- 
trolling authority, and to evince the same to the 
native powers, especially to the Nizam, who had 
been impressed with a belief that they did not 
possess such control, passed a resolution by 
which Mr. Whitehillf was removed from the chair 
at Fort St. George, together with Mr. Sadlier,, 


* Letter to Court, December 1780. 

f Mr. Whitehill would have been removed by the orders of 

the Directors, vide page 577. 


a member of the council. These orders Were en- 1780-82. 
trusted to Lieutenant-general Sir Eyre Coote, who B M G A A J RA " d 
had been requested by the Bengal government, sir Eyre coote 

. proceeds from 

in consequence of the unfortunate state of affairs Bengal to Ma- 
on the coast, to proceed thither and assume the 
chief command of the army, and the direction of 
the military operations. The General was accom- 
panied by a force consisting of eight battalions of 
sepoys for the defence of the Northern Circars ; a 
supply of specie was likewise sent with him, 
amounting to fifteen lacs, and a considerable 
quantity of grain. Mr. Smith, the senior civil 
councillor, took the chair on the removal of Mr. 
Whitehill. The Guntoor circar was now restored 
to Bazalet Jung. Mr. John Holland, who had 
been suspended from the post of Resident with 
the Nizam by the late Madras government, was 
re-appointed to it by the Bengal government in the 
character of their agent to his highness. 

The siege of Arcot was renewed by Hyder, and 
capitulated to him on the 3d November 1780. 
Preparations were made for the march of the 
troops under Sir Eyre Coote immediately the 
rains could admit of their moving. The general's 
conduct in the preparatory measures which he 
adopted, justified the unlimited confidence re- 
posed in his skill and judgment. The task 
committed to him was most arduous ; not only 
the fate of the British interests in the Carnatic, 
but the very safety of Madras, rested upon the ju- 


r/81-82, dicious application of the comparatively trifling 
means which he possessed — not 10,000 men, of 
whom 1,700 only were Europeans, opposed to an 
enemy's army of between 90,000 and 100,000. 

It was first determined to attempt the relief of 
Vellore, Wandewash, Permacoil, and Chingleput. 
Sir Eyre Coote marched from the Mount on the 
17th January at the head of the army to Wande- 
wash. Hyder, on learning his approach, raised 
the siege of that place. The admirable energy 
of the general obliged him as rapidly to abandon 
Permacoil and Vellore. 

The siege of Trichinopoly being meditated by 
Hyder, Sir Eyre Coote marched to Porto Novo, 
the wants of the army being supplied with stores 
from the fleet under Sir Edward Hughes, who had 
already rendered most effectual service by destroy- 
ing Hyder's shipping on the coast of Malabar. 
Proceedings in The petitions which had been presented to 

Parliament as • * . . 

to the conduct Parliament,* complaining of the conduct of the 
court Upre B Supreme Court at Calcutta, were referred to a 
Select Committee of the House, appointed on 
the 12th January 1781, to enquire into the allega- 
tions. On the 27th April the attention of the 
House being drawn to the progress of the war 
in the Carnatic, Mr. Burke stated, that he had 
for a long time been engaged in examining and 
searching into the affairs of India ; he knew from 
experience, that they were at once too extended 


* Fide page 576. 


and too complicated, and that the views and pas- nsi-82. 
sions and interests of too many different men, 
were connected and blended with them, to be 
easily developed or tolerably understood on a 
sudden. A motion was submitted by Lord North 
for the appointment of a Secret committee to 
enquire into the causes of the war. Mr. Burke 
desired that it might be an open committee, and 
observed, Let me fight with Jupiter, as said Aj ax, 
" but give me the day-light." A Secret Com- 
mittee was nominated and authorized to meet in 
the India House, and to adjourn from time to time 
and place to place. 

On the 9th May, Lord North having stated that 
no agreement had yet been made with the Com- 
pany as to their charter, Mr. Burke with great 
asperity deprecated the delay, and observed they 
might be called upon to decide to whom the 
acquisitions and revenues belonged, and they had 
not a document before them to proceed upon. 
Lord North remarked, that the Company had 
demanded the full enjoyment of their chartered 
rights, by which he did not know exactly what 
was meant. It might mean only the exclusive trade 
for the term of the charter ; but if it meant the 
exclusive right of superintending all their con- 
cerns, free from all control, then he contended 
against it. It was the duty of Parliament never 
to renounce that power. He again deprecated war 
in the Carnatic as a great national calamity, and 



1781-82. adverted to a system of peculation which he be- 
Bekgal. lieved to have prevailed in India to a great extent. 
At length the two Acts were passed : the one 
concluding an agreement between the public and 
the Company ;* the other to redress and pre- 
vent the recurrence of the complaints against the 
Supreme Court at Calcutta, f 

By the first-mentioned Act the Company's exclusive pri- 
vileges were continued till 1 791 , with three years' notice ; 
during which time the territorial acquisitions and revenues 
were to remain in their possession. 

After a dividend of eight per cent, on the capital of 
i?3,200,000, three-fourths of the surplus profits were to go 
to the public, and one-fourth to the Company. 

Accounts of the state of the Company's affairs were to be 
laid before the Lords of the Treasury and the General Court. 

During the war with France, Spain, and Holland, the 
Company were to pay one-fourth of the expense of his 
Majesty's ships in India. 

After peace, the Company were to bear the whole. 

The Company were allowed to recruit, and to have 2,000 
men at one time ready for embarkation during war, but 
only 1,000 in peace. 

The parties filling the offices of Governor-general, Com- 
mander-in-chief, and members of council, were to be re- 
movable only by the King on representation of the Direc- 
tors, who might appoint to vacancies on the approbation of 
the Crown. The Commander-in-chief, if appointed by the 
Directors a member of council, was to take rank as two 
members, but was not to succeed to the Government unless 

specially appointed. 
r J British 

* 21 Geo. III. cap. 65. \ 21 Geo - Ul - ca P- 70 - 


British subjects were not to reside more than ten miles 1781-82. 
from the Presidency, without license from the Government. Bengal. 

Two important provisions were also inserted. 
In addition to the enactment of 1773 which re- 
quired the Directors to send to his Majesty's 
Government copies of all letters from India relating 
to the political, military, or revenue affairs of 
the Company, a provision was now inserted that 
copies of all letters proposed to be sent by the 
Directors to India relating to the said subjects, 
should first be submitted for his Majesty's ap- 
proval, and if no disapprobation was expressed 
within fourteen days to the proposed despatch, 
the same might be forwarded to India. 

The other was a clause suggested by the 
heavy drafts which had, at a former period, 
been drawn from India, and nearly ruined the 
Company, being, the minister remarked, " the 
private fortunes of Asiatic plunderers," who would 
again seize upon the opportunity of doing so 
with avidity. Lord North, in alluding to the 
acceptance of presents, observed, that it would 
be proper to interdict their receipt entirely, for 
which purpose it would be well to form a court of 
judicature in this country for the trial of offences 
committed in India. This suggestion, though 
not acted upon at that time, was adopted at a 
later period. 

The other Act related to the Supreme Court, and 
was passed to appease the minds of many persons 



1781-82. who had been disquieted by fears and apprehen- 
Bengal s ions of further mischiefs from the extension of 
the powers exercised by the Bench at Calcutta. 

The Governor-general and Council were not to be subject 
to the Supreme Court, but to a competent court in England, 
and if a bond was given to prosecute them, the party might 
compel the production of papers, and authenticated copies 
were to be received at Westminster. 

The Supreme Court was not to have jurisdiction in mat- 
ters of revenue. 

No person was to be amenable to the Supreme Court on 
account of his being a farmer or landowner, or because he 
was employed by the Company. 

The name of every native employed in the service of the 
Company, in any judicial office, was to be entered, and the 
death of any one so employed was to be recorded. 

All native servants, stewards, or agents, employed by any 
British subject, were to be specified by name in a book, and 
under a penalty. The names of all native partners were to 
be likewise entered, under a penalty for omission. 

The Supreme Court were to hear and determine suits be- 
tween natives; the Mahomedans by the laws and usages 
of Mahomedans, and the Gentoos by the laws and usages of 
Gentoos ; where there was only one party, by the laws 
and usages of the defendant. 

The rights and authorities of fathers and masters of fami- 
lies were to be preserved to them within their said families ; 
nor was any act in consequence of the law of caste to be 
adjudged a crime, although the same might not be held 
justifiable by the laws of England. 

The Supreme Court might frame such process, and make 
such rules and orders for the execution of suits against na- 
tives of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, as would accommodate 



the same to the religion and manners of the natives. The 1781-82. 
same to be sent home for his Majesty's approval. Bengal. 

The Governor-general and Council might determine ap- 
peals to the extent of ^5,000 in civil cases. 

The Governor- general and Council were to frame regula- 
tions for the Provincial Courts. 

The judicial officers in the Provincial Courts were not to 
he answerable to the Supreme Court for error in their decrees. 

Certain natives in prison at Patna were ordered to be dis- 
charged ; and 

The Governor-general and Council were indemnified for 
opposition to the process of the Supreme Court. 

Whilst the Parliament was engaged in devising Appointment 
means for remedying the defects of the Supreme i m peyto J the 
Court, the Governor-general had attempted to re- i u ". 
concile the differences with the Judges, by pro- 
posing to Sir Elijah Impey, the office of judge of 
the S udder Dewanny Adawlut, with a salary of 
£6,000 a year. Mr. Hastings believed that it 
would be the means of lessening the distance be- 
tween the Government and the Supreme Court, and 
would also prove an instrument of reconciliation. 
Sir Robert Chambers, one of the puisne judges, 
accepted the post of president of the court of 
justice at Chinsara. 

The provisions contained in the Acts which 
have been noticed were of great importance, as 
regarded both the Company and their native sub- 
jects. Like the legislative measures passed from 
time to time to perfect or repair the constitution 
of our own country, those which relate to India 




[Chap. XL 


have been called for by the events of the times. 
As the effect and working of the system under 
which such a vast empire has been acquired and 
governed, is progressively traced out, it will be 
seen that some master mind has, at the needed 
moment, invariably taken a leading part in sub- 
jects which offered little attraction to the general 
politician who, engaged in the affairs of Europe, or 
the internal concerns of his own nation, felt little 
disposition to dive into a mass of matter relating 
to a country and a corporation, in either of which 
the kingdom at large, or, unless under particular 
political circumstances, took but little interest. 

At the close of the session in July 1781, his 
Majesty's speech contained the following pas- 
sage : — 

" Your deliberations on the affairs of the East- 
India Company have terminated in such measures 
as will, I trust, produce great and essential ad- 
vantages to my kingdom." 


Lord Macart- 

Lord Macartney, whose appointment as Gover- 
nor of Madras has been noticed,* reached that 
Presidency in June 1781, during the height of 
hostilities in the Carnatic. Having assumed 
charge of the Government, he proceeded to in- 
quire into the general state of the affairs, and on 
the 31st July, he communicated his sentiments to 


* Fide page 577. 


the Directors. His Lordship represented that 1781-82. 
there was not a lac in the treasury ; that there Ma ™ as 
was not any cavalry, an arm so important in con- 
ducting operations against such an enemy as 
Hyder, who could attack or refrain from opera- 
tions at his pleasure, and who declined all over- 
tures for peace. No assistance whatever could 
be obtained from the Nabob of the Carnatic, who 
pleaded some new understanding with the Su- 
preme Government. 

The battle of Porto Novo had been fought on 
the 1st July. The position chosen by Sir Eyre 
Coote on that occasion evinced his usual judg- 
ment. He was ably supported by Generals 
Stuart and Sir Hector Munro, and the enemy 
were totally defeated. Hyder retreated to Arcot. 
Reinforcements were sent from Bengal, with 
which Sir Eyre Coote attacked and carried, on 
the 23d August, Tripassore. Hyder fell back on 
the spot where he had defeated Colonel Baillie, 
whither he was followed by the English army. 

A hardly contested battle took place on the 
27th, which lasted from nine in the morning until 
sun-set. Hyder was again completely defeated, 
but the English suffered severely. General 
Stuart lost a leg by the same shot that killed 
Colonel Brown ; and Captain Hislop, one of 
General Stuart's aides-de-camp, fell close by his 
side. On the 28th September, Hyder sustained 
another defeat during Sir Eyre Coote's movement 



1781-82. with the army towards Vellore. The principal 
madras. Polygars who were at this time in Hyder's inte- 
rest, came over to the Company's army. Hyder, 
however, was by no means dismayed at these 

Bengal. During these operations on the coast, the 

Braireswid Governor- general became involved in a serious 
cheyte Sing. a ff ra y a t Benares, when on his journey to visit the 
Vizier, who had expressed a particular desire for 
a personal interview. Under the treaty con- 
cluded with Shuja Dowlah in August 1765, it was 
stipulated that Bulwunt Sing, a tributary of the 
Vizier, and Rajah of Benares, should be con- 
tinued in that province. On Shuja Dowlah's 
death in 1775, a treaty was concluded by Mr. 
Bristow with his successor, AusufT-ud-Dowlah, 
by which all the districts dependent on Rajah 
Cheyte Sing, the successor of Bulwunt Sing, 
were transferred in full sovereignty to the Com- 
pany, an arrangement which had apparently given 
great satisfaction to Cheyte Sing and his family. 

When intelligence reached India, in 1778, of the 
war with France, Spain, and America, the Su- 
preme Government were constrained to devise 
every means to augment the financial resources of 
the Company, in order to meet the unavoidable 
increase of charge. As the Rajah's provinces 
derived the advantage of the Company's protec- 
tion, to whom he had, in point of fact, become 



tributary, he was called upon to aid in the gene- nsi-82. 
ral exigency. He very reluctantly assented to a Benoat - 
contribution of five lacs. This indisposition cre- 
ated an unfavourable impression on the mind of 
the government. 

Having been again applied to for aid during the 
war in the Carnatic, in the prosecution of which 
the government of Bengal had drained their trea- 
sury in supplies to Madras, he evinced a decided 
disinclination to come forward ; and although he 
promised to contribute some aid in cavalry, not 
one man was forthcoming. These and other cir- 
cumstances arising out of the deputation of a 
party from the Rajah to Calcutta, determined Mr. 
Hastings to make known his mind to Cheyte 
Sing, for which purpose he proceeded to Benares 
on his route to meet the Vizier, where he arrived 
on the 14th August 1781. It was the Rajah's 
wish to have paid the Governor-general a visit 
that evening, but he desired it might be postponed 
until a wish to that effect was communicated to 
the Rajah. 

In the interim, the Governor general caused a cheyte sing 

m m arrested, and 

paper to be forwarded to Cheyte Sing, recapitu- flies. 
lating the points upon which he felt it necessary 
to animadvert. The reply of the Rajah was so 
unsatisfactory, that orders were given to Mr. 
Markham, the resident, on the 15th, at ten at 
night, to place him in arrest the following morn- 
ing : should opposition arise, he was to await the 
vol. I. 2 q * arrival 


1731-82. arrival of two companies of sepoys. Mr. Mark- 
Bengat.. } iam> with the troops, the following morning exe- 
cuted his orders. The Rajah addressed a letter to 
Mr. Hastings, asking " what need there was for 
guards ? He was the Governor-general's slave." 
In consequence of the desire of the Rajah, Mr. 
Mark ham proceeded to visit him ; previous to his 
arrival, large bodies of armed men had crossed 
the river from Ramnagur. Unfortunately, the 
two companies who were with the resident had 
taken no ammunition with them. They were 
suddenly attacked by the assembled body of 
armed men and fired upon ; at this moment the 
Rajah made his escape, letting himself down the 
steep banks of the river, by turbans tied together, 
into a boat which was waiting for him. Those 
who effected his escape followed him. Of the two 
companies commanded by Lieutenant Stalker 
few remained alive, and those were severely 
wounded ; Lieutenants Stalker, Scott, and Simes 
lying within a short distance of each other. The 
Rajah fled from Ramnagur with his zenana to 
Lateefgur, a strong fort ten miles from Chunar, 
accompanied by every member of the family' who 
could claim any right of succession to the raj. 

In this state of affairs, Mr. Hastings selected 
Baboo Assaum Sing, who had been dewan under 
Bulwunt Sing, to take charge of the revenues, in 
quality of Naib, until it should be legally deter- 
mined to whom the revenues belonged. The 



Governor went to Chunar, from whence requisi- r/si 82. 
tions were issued for succour from all quarters. Bengal. 
Little aid could be effectually given, as the whole 
of the country was in arms, the provinces of 
Benares, Ramnagur, and Pateeta being in a state 
of war. Troops ultimately arrived under Major 
Popham from Cawnpore ; the exertions and gal- 
lantry of that officer rescued the zemindary of 
Benares from the power and influence of the dis- 
affected Rajah and his adherents. His last strong 
fortress of Bejieghur, from which he had escaped, 
was reduced and brought under subjection to the 
Company. Baboo Narrain, a grandson of Bul- 
wunt Sing, was proclaimed rajah in the room of 
Cheyte Sing. 

The nomination of a resident at Benares was Resident at 

. Benares. 

one of the questions upon which a difference had 
arisen between the majority of the Council and 
Mr. Hastings, before the death of General Claver- 
ing, who had expressed his opinion to the Direc- 
tors on the conduct of the Governor-general in 
removing Mr. Fowke from Benares, and nomi- 
nating two persons to supply his place, viz. Mr. 
Thomas Graham and Mr. D. Barwell, as his 
agents, and withdrawing Mr. Bristow from Luck- 
now, and nominating Mr. Middleton in his room. 
The Directors animadverted in strong terms upon 
the act of the Governor-general, who had removed 
Mr. Fowke on the ground that the matter upon 
which he had been deputed to Benares was con- 

2 q 2 eluded, 


1781-82. eluded, and yet, within twenty days only, he 
Bengal. appointed a resident, with an assistant, where one 
party had been sufficient. The Court directed 
the restoration of Mr. Fowke. Their orders * did 
not reach Calcutta until the death of General 
Clavering, and as Mr. Hastings considered that 
event might make an alteration in his position, and 
that the removal of Mr. Graham would be tanta- 
mount to his resignation, the matter was postponed 
for reference home. 

Mr. Fowke, aware of the orders for his restora- 
tion, appealed to the Government to have them 
carried into effect ; the Board informed that gentle- 
man, that they had no reason to be dissatisfied 
with his public conduct. Mr. Francis having 
declared that Sir Eyre Coote, on succeeding 
General Clavering, would oppose Mr. Hastings, 
made a direct motion that the orders of the Court 
should be immediately acted upon. Sir Eyre Coote 
stated, that as he had been nominated by his king 
and country to fill a high station in so distant a 
part of the world, and well knowing the great 
difficulties he should have to encounter, from the 
unfortunate differences which had arisen, declared 
that he had determined to take no part in those 
differences, and that he should accordingly agree 
to the motion for postponing the consideration of 
the question to the next Council. At that meet- 
ing he declared, that had he been present when 


* 30th January 1778. 


the Court's orders arrived, he should have voted 1 781-82. 
for their immediate execution ; but the matter was Bengal - 
now retrospective, he should therefore leave the 
question to be decided on the reference already- 
made to the home authorities ; but whatever their 
orders might be on that reference, he should sup- 
port them. The Directors expressed their asto- 
nishment at the delay that had taken place, and 
desired that Mr. Fowke should be appointed, 
which was forthwith done.* In February 1781, 
Mr. Fowke was recalled by the Government, and 
nominated agent for boats, Mr. Markham suc- 
ceeding as Resident at Benares, with Mr. Benn as 
his assistant. This arrangement was made under 
the necessity of the Governor-general having the 
agent of his choice. 

Mr. Hastings at this time intimated to the chair- Mr. Hastings 
man of the Court of Directors, that he had thought agent at home 

. ! r ji to attend to his 

proper to appoint an agent at home, tor the pur- interests. 
pose of attending to his political interests, and 
that he had selected Major John Scott, to whom 
he had given instructions, but had particularly 
provided that he would suffer no person whatever 
to perform any act in his name, that could be con- 
strued to imply a resignation of his authority, pro- 
testing against it, (as on a former occasion) as most 

The Vizier met Mr. Hastings at Chunar, on the Meets the 

* Proceedings, Council, February 1780. 





[Chap. XI. 


Treaty with 

11th September, when he evinced the strongest 
feelings of attachment to the Company and their 
interests. The arrangement then concluded with 
him led to the withdrawal of the temporary 
brigade, and three regiments of cavalry, and the 
stationing one regiment of sepoys at Lucknow, at 
a charge of 25,000 rupees per month. The army 
for Cawnpore was limited to the strength pre- 
scribed by the treaty of 1773. All British officers 
and pensioners were to be withdrawn, and certain 
jaghires resumed. The result was, an immediate 
supply of fifty-five lacs of ready money to the 
Company, and a stipulation for the payment of an 
additional twenty lacs, to complete the liquidation 
of his debt to them. The Vizier returned to his 
capital on the 25th September 1781. 

During the Governor-general's residence at Chu- 
nar, an overture for peace reached him from 
Madajee Scindiah. It led to a separate treaty 
with that chief, effected through the agency of 
Colonel Muir, under instructions from Mr. Hastings 
of the 13th October. 

Scindiah was to act as mediator in endeavour- 
ing to effect a peace between the Company and 
Hyder.* Mr. Anderson, on the part of the Gover- 
nor-general, proceeded with full powers to the 
Mahratta camp. 

In order to secure an additional military force at 
Madras, Mr. Hastings suggested the expediency 


* Printed Treaties. 


of exchanging the circars for the loan of a con- 1 781-82. 
siderable body of cavalry from the Nizam : the Bknoal - 
idea was not adopted by the Presidency of Fort 
St. George, who at the same time stated, that as 
no money could be got from the Nabob, he had 
consented to assign over his revenues of the 
Carnatic, during the war, a formal deed being- 
executed by his highness for the term of five 
years.* The Company's finances at this moment 
were at the lowest ebb : the army, the civil 
establishments, and all the public offices being 
greatly in arrear. The Poligars, who were the 
Nabob's dependants, had gone over to the enemy ; 
and the Rajah of Travancore, so far from afford- 
ing relief, had not given sufficient means to dis- 
charge the pay of the troops employed in his own 
territories. In this state of affairs, the intelligence 
from Bengal, that there was a prospect of peace 
with the Mahrattas, led the Madras government 
to congratulate the Court. They at the same 
time expressed their sense of the aid, both in 
money and provisions, which had been extended to 
them by the Supreme Government.^ 

In order more effectually to reduce Hyder's Madras. 
power, Lord Macartney suggested to Sir Eyre ££j£j£[^ 
Coote the expediency of attacking Negapatam. ^ ac a ki ^ m 
The commander-in-chief was opposed to the mea- 

* Letter from Madras, 15th December 1781. 
f Letter from Madras, 30th and 31st December 1781. 



[Chap. XI. 


Other opera- 

sure, upon which Lord Macartney determined to 
take the whole responsibility of it upon himself. 
The joint forces under Admiral Sir Edward 
Hughes and Sir Eyre Coote were accordingly 
directed to the object. Negapatam surrendered on 
the 12th November, with 6,551 prisoners of war, 
causing Hyder to evacuate all the strong posts in 
the Tanjore country. Sir Eyre Coote, although 
labouring under severe ill -health, persevered in 
conducting the military operations. To facilitate 
the means of obtaining supplies for the army, there 
not being a day's rice for the troops, Colonel Owen 
was despatched, in October, with one company of 
European grenadiers, one Bengal regiment, four 
battalions of sepoys, with two field pieces, into 
the Chittoor country, to intercept grain from the 
Poligars, and to throw in supplies to aid thegarrison 
of Vellore, which had been invested by Hyder for 
some months. Accounts having reached Sir Eyre 
Coote that Colonel Owen's detachment was likely 
to be attacked, he immediately advanced to its 
support ; but before he could join the Colonel, 
Hyder, with most of his forces, and all his light 
guns, had attacked him. The little band dis- 
played the utmost gallantry, and its leader great 
judgment and discretion. After a day's severe 
fighting, Colonel Owen made a retreat in good 
order, with but comparatively small loss after 
contending with so overwhelming a force. The 
general, apprehensive that if Hyder obtained 



possession of Vellore, his expulsion from the Car- nsi-82. 
natic would be rendered far more difficult, pushed Madras - 
on towards that fortress, in the hope of meeting 
with the enemy, and by defeating him, relieving 
the garrison. His attempt to bring Hyder to an 
engagement failed, but he reached Vellore on the 
morning of the 3d November, to the great joy of 
the troops, who had been confined there sixteen 
months, and would shortly have been constrained 
to surrender. Sir Eyre Coote felt called upon 
to address the Court in testimony of the dis- 
tinguished conduct of Colonel Lang, the comman- 
dant, and his spirited support of the garrison, 
amidst such accumulated difficulties, for so pro- 
tracted a period. On the 8th November, the 
general appeared before Chittoor, then in possession 
of the enemy. The garrison were obstinate in its 
defence, and had been much strengthened. Sir 
Eyre Coote made preparations for the storm, 
having previously declared that, in the event of 
his being obliged to proceed to extremities, every 
man in the garrison should be put to the sword. 
He was wounded in the course of the operations 
by a splinter from a stone shot. The garrison 
shortly capitulated. The army returned to 
cantonments, and the general having arrived 
at Madras, addressed a letter to the Court of 
Directors, in which he described the state of his 
health to be such as scarcely to admit of his turn- 
ing himself in his bed. He then alluded to the 



1781-82. change in what he termed the military affairs in 
Madras. Bengal, referring to the measures of the Governor- 
general with the troops at Benares, and expressed 
his persuasion that no good could result from 
them. "Speaking from experience," he declared 
" that the versatility of the measures of the several 
Company's governments was such, that no com- 
mander-in-chief could act effectually, or with 
honour to himself, unless invested with more 
ample powers." Adverting to a mission sent by 
Lord Macartney to the King of Kandy, he stated 
that he knew nothing of it. He then commented 
upon the extraordinary act of the Governor- 
general in proceeding to the upper provinces, and 
on the folly of his not having seen that the 
detachment with him possessed ammunition,* as 
he ought to have been alive to the " contumacious 
temper of the Rajah," Cheyte Sing. Much allow- 
ance was to be made for the general's state of 
health, and the effect which it had upon his mind: 
whilst thus animadverting upon the Governor- 
general's assumption of military power, he un- 
consciously justifies Mr. Hastings, in the opinion 
he had formed of the Rajah's disposition to throw 
off allegiance to the Company's government. 
Other instances arose, in which Sir Eyre Coote 
evinced an irritability of temper that led him to 
put constructions on the conduct of the Govern- 
ment whom he was then serving, which tended to 

* Vide page 594. 


widen the misunderstanding that had arisen be- mum. 
tween the Supreme Council and that of Madras. Madras * 
These differences were heightened by the course intrigues of 
of duplicity and intrigue practised on the part of against Lord 
the Nabob. When the assignment of his re- Macartne y« 
venues took place,* the Madras Presidency ap- 
pointed a Board of Revenue Commissioners to 
manage the territories. The accounts were to be 
kept by the Commissioners, and submitted for 
the satisfaction of the Government and of the 
Nabob. H'onour and integrity were indispensable 
in the transaction of so delicate and responsible a 
trust. In the month of August 1782, the Nabob 
addressed letters to several of the members of the 
Madras Council, in which he reviled the conduct 
of the governor, Lord Macartney, and charged 
him with mismanaging his country. He at the 
same time exerted all means of secret influence to 
undermine his Lordship's character and authority. 
The enmity of the Nabob was increased by Lord 
Macartney having expressed a decided opinion 
that, with reference to the nature and extent of 
the Nabob's pecuniary engagements, the assign- 
ment of his revenues ought to continue until his 
debts were liquidated. One of the methods which 
the Nabob took to effect his object, was that of 
preferring serious complaints against his Lordship 
to the Supreme Government, alleging, as the 
ground for such complaints, the mismanagement 

* Vide page 599. 


1781-82. of his revenues. In these attempts he was aided 
madras, j^ ^ second son Ameer-ul-Omrah, a base in- 
triguing character, who attempted to ingratiate 
himself with his father to the prejudice of his 
elder brother Omdut-ul-Omrah. In furtherance 
of his scheme, he caused a charge to be pre- 
ferred against Mr. David Haliburton, the Persian 
translator to the Government, and one of the com- 
missioners for the management of the assigned 
territory, knowing that if he succeeded in proving 
want of integrity in an individual filling a post 
which demanded the most scrupulous conduct, it 
would strengthen the claim of the Nabob to have 
his country restored to him. The attempt was 
communicated to the Government by Mr. Hali- 
burton's own representation. He stated that he 
had received a letter, written by Mr. Ellis, an 
attorney of the Mayor's Court at Madras, de- 
manding of him, in the name of Conary Row, 
the sum of 500 pagodas, which that native had 
given him in consideration of certain services 
to be rendered in his favour, but which en- 
gagement had not been fulfilled by Mr. Halibur- 
ton. This gentleman -not only denied upon oath 
having either directly or indirectly received any 
sum of money from Conary Row, but declared 
that he never had any pecuniary dealings with 
him; he moreover produced a deposition made 
by the native himself, that every exertion had 
been used by Ameer-ul-Omrah to induce him to 



accuse Mr. Haliburton of having accepted a bribe. 1781 82. 
The Government felt called upon to address the 
Nabob, and caution him against these attempts on 
the part of his Highness Ameer-ul-Omrah to tra- 
duce the character of one of the Company's ser- 
vants. The reply of the Nabob was couched in 
terms of violent abuse. He complained of the 
disgrace attempted to be charged upon his son, 
and openly declared that Mr. Haliburton had 
taken the money, and had kept Conary Row in 
prison for two days without food, under a guard, 
in order to compel him to give false evidence. 
With reference to this last charge, the fact ap- 
peared to be, that the native himself, apprehensive 
of the prince's enmity when he made the deposi- 
tion, had requested a guard to protect him from 
his vengeance ! The Government assured the 
Nabob that there was no desire to conceal the 
matter ; that Mr. Haliburton had himself brought 
it forward, and that Conary Row had been sum- 
moned before the Council, where, on his examina- 
tion, he gave the most complete refutation to every 
thing that had been asserted in the letters from the 
Nabob, and had likewise earnestly entreated the 
guard might be continued, to ensure his personal 
safety. Mr. Haliburton requested to retire from 
the offices of Persian translator and commissioner 
of the assigned revenue, until a full and complete 
enquiry had taken place, and a decision passed 
thereon by the Government ; but they felt the 



1781-82. charge to be so totally unfounded, that th eyre- 
solved not to deprive themselves of his services. 
Notwithstanding these facts an action was sub- 
sequently brought against Mr. Haliburton by the 
attorney in the Madras Court for unlawfully re- 
ceiving money from Conary Row. The charge 
not only completely failed, but the Court actually 
awarded triple damages to Mr. Haliburton.* It 


* Letter from Madras, 31st August 1782. 
Mr. Haliburton appears to have been again exposed to 
the perilous effects of jealousy and intrigue, during the brief 
government of Mr. John Holland. A cowle had been granted 
for the preceding thirty years for the exclusive vend of betel- 
nut and tobacco within certain limits ; in the cowle issued 
by Mr. Holland's government, the limits had been greatly ex- 
tended. General complaints were urged against this measure 
by the natives who inhabited the districts to which the ex- 
tended right of monopoly applied. Mr. Haliburton was re- 
ported to have urged them to resistance, in consequence of 
which the Government suspended him from the office of Per- 
sian translator and member of the Board of Revenue. This 
proceeding was founded upon the declaration of two natives, 
one of whom deposed that the conversation he had with Mr. 
Haliburton was in English, which he confessed he did not un- 
derstand, and yet three days afterwards he swore to the truth 
of the contents of a petition which was entirely in English, and 
contained the very words in which Mr. Haliburton was sup- 
posed to have encouraged them to resist ; and he also swore at 
the same time to the truth of the particulars of his previous 
examination, when he declared that he did not and now does not 
understand English. Upon this extraordinary evidence, with- 
out further inquiry into the character of the accusers, was Mr. 
Haliburton suspended. He was prepared to make the most 
solemn assertion of his innocence, and earnestly but ineffectually 
solicited investigation. The Directors, on being apprised of all 



is scarcely possible to believe that such a state of 1 781-82. 
things could have existed as is shewn, from a perusal Mad * as - 
of the records, to have been the case at the period 
in question.* 

Intelligence of the appointment of Sir Elijah Proceedings in 
Impey to the S udder Dewanny Adawlut reached to sir Elijah 
England in October 1781. Doubts immediately mpey * 
arose in the minds of the Directors on the legality 
of the measure. The subject was forthwith taken 


the circumstances, condemned the conduct of the Government 
in the strongest terms. They observed, " even if we had not 
cause to suspect the purity of almost every measure of the short 
administration of Mr. John Holland, the single proceeding res- 
pecting the removal of Mr. Haliburton upon perjured evidence 
to drive him from the settlement to some remote corner, was 
sufficient to establish the strongest suspicions of corruption on 
the part of the Government." The Court ordered his immediate 
restoration to office. — Letter to Madras, 6th May 1791. 

" When Mr. Haliburton resigned the service and returned to 
England in March 1795, the Madras Government bore honour- 
able testimony to his merits and services as a faithful, zealous, 
and intelligent servant of the Company." — Letter from Madras, 
Uh March 1795. 

" The Directors expressed their conviction that the eulogium 
passed on Mr. Haliburton was well merited. His conduct, first 
in acquiring, by an early and a laborious attention, a knowledge 
of the languages and of the customs of the country, and of 
matters relating to the revenue — and secondly, in exercising that 
knowledge in furthering the interests of his employers, whilst 
he held a conspicuous situation at the Revenue Board, was 
well worthy of applause, and we recommend it to the imitation 
of our servants." — Letter to Madras, Mh October 1797. 

* The late Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, of posthumous notoriety, 
appears to have been brought into parliament by the Nabob as 
his agent, to advocate, as a British senator, the unworthy jobs 
of such a flagitious principal as Mahomed Ali. 


1781-82. up by the House of Commons, who appointed a 
select committee to investigate the proceedings. 
They directed their attention, not only to the 
question of legality, but to the authority which 
had been exercised by the Governor-general, and 
to the effects it was calculated to produce upon 
the minds of the people of India. 

In the interval between the appointment of the 
Committee and their Report, a change of ministry 
took place. Lord North resigned. The Marquis 
of Rockingham became first lord of the Trea- 
sury, Earl Shelburneand Mr. Fox being appointed 
the two secretaries of state, the office of the third 
secretary of state being abolished. Lord John 
Cavendish was chancellor of the Exchequer, the 
Duke of Portland lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Mr. 
Sheridan one of the under-secretaries of state, 
Admiral Keppel at the head of the Admiralty, 
and Mr. Burke was appointed paymaster of the 
forces and made a privy councillor. 

Mr. Burke appears, from an early period of his 
political life, to have paid more attention to the 
affairs of India than almost any other subject. 
It is affirmed, that when the idea of a second 
commission to India was in agitation in 1769, an 
offer was made to him, in the event of its appoint- 
ment, to be at its head, as his success in par- 
liament might be doubtful, " few knowing what 
they are capable of when entering the House of 
Commons, and few coming out from thence with- 


out having found their just weight in the political 1781-82. 
balance." This circumstance accounts in some Bengal - 
measure for his attention to India affairs. 

The Report of the Committee was presented to 
the House on the 18th April 1782. It was taken 
up in a Committee of the whole House, by whom 
it was reported, that Sir Elijah Impey's appoint- 
ment was wholly at variance with the beneficial 
purposes intended by the Act of 1773, and made 
the Supreme Court dependent upon the very au- 
thorities whose acts it was meant to control. That 
such appointments ought to be held as null and 
void, and that the Directors should order the same 
to be annulled. The Directors passed an unani- 
mous resolution on the 24th April, removing Sir 
Elijah Impey. An address to the Throne on the 
9th May was voted by the House of Commons for 
his recall from India, to answer to the charge of 
his accepting the office. 

About the same time Reports were presented Reports on 

1 ; L Carnatic war. 

from the Secret Committee appointed to enquire 
into the causes of the Carnatic war. Mr. Dun- 
das, the lord advocate of Scotland, had acted as 
chairman of the Committee, and to him was given 
the credit of having prepared those voluminous 
documents which were considered to be drawn up 
with the greatest judgment and ability. 

Mr. Dundas submitted to the House one hun- 
dred and eleven resolutions, founded on the Re- 
ports in question. The resolutions were divided 

vol. i. 2r 


1781-82. into three classes, each class containing three dis- 
Bengal - tinct heads. 

The first regarded the general system of govern- 
ment; it censured the conduct of Mr. Hastings, 
the governor-general, and that of Mr. Hornby, 
governor of Bombay, and declared it to be the duty 
of the Directors to recall them. 

The second and third classes related to the 
affairs of the Carnatic. On these a bill of pains 
and penalties was brought in against Sir Thomas 
Rumbold, J. Whitehill, and P. Perring, Esqrs., 
for breaches of public trust and high crimes and 

On the 28th May, the House of Commons came 
to the following resolution : — 

u Resolved, That Warren Hastings, Esq., governor- 
general, and William Hornby, Esq., president of the 
Council at Bombay, having in sundry instances acted in a 
manner repugnant to the honour and policy of this nation, 
and thereby brought great calamities on India, and enor- 
mous expenses on the Company, it is the duty of the 
Directors to pursue all legal and effectual means for the 
removal of the said Governor-general and President from 
their respective offices, and to recall them to Great Britain." 

The Court of Directors entered into a consider- 
ation of the various documents connected with the 


* Little progress was made in prosecuting the matter during 
that session. The unsettled state of affairs in 1783 prevented 
the House of Commons taking it up until late in that year. 
At the close of the session, a motion to adjourn the question 
until October was carried, by which the matter fell to the 
ground and was never resumed. 


administration of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Hornby, 17 82. 
at six separate meetings, from the 31st May to 
the 18th June. On the 19th of that month, a 
Special General Court met at the requisition of 
nine proprietors, when it was 

" Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Court, that 
the removing of Warren Hastings, Esq. the governor-general 
of Bengal, or any servants of the Company, merely in com- 
pliance with a vote of the House of Commons, without 
being satisfied that the grounds of delinquency against the 
said Warren Hastings, or such other servants, are sufficient 
of themselves to vindicate the Directors in coming to such 
resolution, would weaken the confidence which the servants 
of the Company ought to entertain of the justice of their 
employers, and will tend to destroy that independency, 
which the proprietors of East-India Stock ought to enjoy 
in the management of their own affairs." 

It was also 

" Resolved, That it be recommended to the Court of 
Directors not to carry into effect any resolution they may 
come to relative to the removal of Warren Hastings, Esq. 
till such resolution shall have been approved by a General 

At eleven subsequent meetings of the Court of 
Directors, held between the 20th June and the 
2d October, the consideration of the resolution 
of the House of Commons, and of the dispatches 
connected therewith, from India, was resumed. 
On the 9th of October, four separate motions were 
submitted by the chairman, from the Committee 
of Correspondence, and having been discussed on 

2 r 2 the 


1782. the 16th, 17th, and 22d of that month, the Court 
of Directors on the latter 

" Resolved, That the orders sent by the Directors to their 
servants in India, to abstain from schemes of conquest and 
extension of dominion, and to confine their views to a system 
of defence, forbidding all unnecessary interference in the 
quarrels with the country powers, or the entering into new 
engagements with them in offensive alliances, recommend- 
ing at the same time the preservation of peace, and the 
maintenance of an inviolable character for moderation and 
good faith, by a steady adherence to treaties founded in 
wisdom and sound policy, and entirely consonant to the 
interests of the Company and the nation. 

2d. " That it appears to this Court, that a contrary 
system of policy has been adopted and pursued by the 
Company's servants in India, in disobedience to those well 
advised orders of their superiors, whereby they have involved 
themselves in impolitic and contradictory negotiations, pro- 
moted and entered into offensive treaties, and carried on 
unnecessary and complicated wars, attended with an enor- 
mous expense, and by these and other instances of erroneous 
conduct, the Company have been loaded with large and 
heavy debts at all their settlements, and our national influ- 
ence and reputation declined throughout Hindostan, whilst 
these measures have given birth to combinations among the 
country powers, dangerous to the safety of the Company's 

3d. " That it is incumbent on this Court to give a 
decisive confirmation to that system of conduct enjoined by 
the Directors, and heretofore ratified by a General Court, 
and in order to quiet the native princes in Hindostan, to 
restore confidence, and to shew the sincerity of our inten- 
tions, that an immediate stop be put to a system of policy 



so ruinous in its consequences to this Company and the 1782. 

public. Bengal. 

4th. " That it is the opinion of this Court, that a steady 
perseverance in the system of conduct so frequently enjoined 
by the Court of Directors, cannot be expected from those 
servants, whose ideas of extension of dominion, either by 
negociation or conquest, have led them to depart from 
orders so often enforced, and therefore that it is expedient 
to remove Warren Hastings, Esq. from the office of Gover- 
nor-general of Bengal.'" 

Seven Directors recorded a dissent from the 
resolution of recall. On the 21st October, another 
Special General Court was held at the instance of 
nine proprietors, when the following motion was 
made : — 

" That it appears to this Court, from incontestable evi- Court of Pro- 
dence, drawn from the records of the Company, and sup- hiTrecall. 
ported by the unanimous opinion of the House of Commons, 
that the war in which we are now engaged with the 
Mahrattas was evidently founded on the sentiments of the 
Court of Directors, conveying demands on the Mahratta 
administration greatly exceeding the conditions of the treaty 
of Poorunder, which sentiments of the Court of Directors 
opened the first design of sending a detachment from 
Bengal to the Malabar coast, and that consequently it 
would be the height of injustice to lay the blame of that 
war, or the evils which have flowed from it, upon Mr. 
Hastings, when it appears that the dissatisfaction of the 
Court of Directors, expressed at the treaty of Poorunder, 
in their letters to Bengal of the 5th of February, and to 
Bombay of the 16th of April 1777, gave the strongest 
encouragement to both presidencies to seize the slightest 
pretence of provocation from the ministers of the Mahratta 



] 78 "2- states, to renew their engagements with Ragobah. Neither 

have the measures adopted by Mr. Hastings, in consequence 
of such instructions, ever received the slightest censure from 
the Court of Directors. In consideration whereof, it is now 
recommended to the Court of Directors to rescind their late 
resolution, respecting the removal of Warren Hastings, Esq. 
governor-general of Bengal, more especially as it appears 
to this Court that, according to the late official despatches 
from Bengal, dated the 8th of April 1782, the prospect of 
peace with the Mahrattas was then propitious, because it 
seemed to be wished for by the Mahratta states, because 
hostilities with them had ceased for many months, and that 
a peace had actually been concluded with Mahdajee 
Scindia, one of the principal chiefs of that confederacy ; 
and further, that the Government-general of Bengal were 
using every means in their power to effect a general pacifi- 
cation, and that the conduct of the said Government-general 
was tending to produce a general pacification, or to unite 
and support, by powerful resources, a general confederacy 
of the country powers, to defeat the combination of Hyder 
Ally and the French, (supposing the said Hyder Ally shall 
not accept of the reasonable terms of accommodation which 
have been offered to him in consequence of his proposals for 
peace,) merits the warmest approbation of this Court, and 
that therefore it would be evidently injurious to the interest 
of the Company, and the nation, to remove any of those 
principal servants of the Company, now discharging their 
duty with such uncommon exertions, ability, and unanimity, 
or to shake the authority reposed in them by the Legislature 
and the Company, at a period so critical, when the pros- 
perity of the British interests in India will depend in a great 
measure on the confidence which the native princes of the 
country may place in the Government of Bengal. ,, 

The question being put by the ballot, on the 



31st October 1782, there were, out of 503 votes, 1782 - 
a majority of 353 in favour of the resolution. RecaiTo^Mr 

The Court of Directors having satisfied them- Hastin s s - 
selves that, in the opinion of the Company's 
counsel, the proprietors possessed a subsisting 
power of control in the removal of a governor- 

" Resolved, That in compliance with the direction of the 
Court of Proprietors, the resolution of the Court of Direc- 
tors of the 22d October, respecting the removal of Mr. 
Hastings, be rescinded." 

A general letter to India, announcing the Court's 
determination, was then approved, but as the clause 
in the Act of 1781 required that all proposed 
letters from the Company to their Government in 
India should be subject to the approval of the 
Crown, the dispatch in question was transmitted 
to Mr. Secretary Townsend for the King's appro- 
bation. On the 16th of November, a letter was 
received by the Court from Mr. Townsend, inti- 
mating that the resolution of the Directors, formed 
in compliance with the directions of the General 
Court of Proprietors, was so directly repugnant to 
the sense of the House of Commons, that he had 
received his Majesty's commands to withhold any 
approbation to the draft, and that it was his 
Majesty's intention to order the whole of the pro- 
ceedings relative to the business in question to be 
laid before Parliament ; he was also to instruct 
the Chairs to suspend sending the draft to India. 






Letter from 
Mr. Hastings 
as to a sum of 
money pre- 

When the proprietors were acquainted with his 
Majesty's pleasure, they resolved to appoint a 
committee of nine of their body to watch over the 
rights of the Company. 

During the discussions at home respecting Mr. 
Hastings, he addressed the Court from Patna in 
January 1782, representing that when he was at 
Chunar, in the preceding year,* an offer of a con- 
siderable sum of money was made to him by the 
Vizier and by his minister. 

" I accepted it without hesitation, and gladly, being en- 
tirely destitute both of means and credit, whether for your 
service or the relief of my own necessities. It was made, 
not in specie, but in bills. What I have received has been 
laid out in the public service, the rest shall be applied to 
the same account. The nominal sum is ten lacs of rupees, 
Oude currency. As soon as the whole is completed, I shall 
send you a faithful account of it, resigning the disposal of 
it entirely to the pleasure of your Honourable Court. If you 
shall adjudge the disposal to me, I shall consider it as the 
most honourable apportionment and reward of my labours, 
and I wish to owe my fortune to your bounty. I am now 
in my fiftieth year : I have passed thirty-one years in your 
service. My conscience allows me boldly to claim the 
merit of zeal and integrity, nor has fortune been unpropi- 
tious to their exertions. To these qualities I bound my 
pretensions. I shall not repine if you shall deem otherwise 
of my services ; nor ought your decision, however it may 
disappoint my hope of a retreat adequate to the consequence 
and elevation of the office which I now possess, to lessen my 
gratitude for having been so long permitted to hold it, since 

* Vide page 597. 


it has at least permitted me to lay up a provision, with 1782-83. 
which I can be contented in a more humble station."* Benqal. 

In fulfilment of the promise contained in the 
foregoing letter, Mr. Hastings wrote to the Court 
on the 22d May from Calcutta, and entered into 
an explanation of the several sums received by 
him and applied to the Company's use, amount- 
ing in the aggregate to nineteen lacs sixty-four 
thousand rupees, or nearly £200,000, from the 
month of October 1780 to August 1781. 

These letters gave no indication of any expec- 
tation on the part of Mr. Hastings that his con- 
duct as governor-general could have formed 
grounds for the displeasure either of Parliament 
or of the Directors. The one written by him in 
May was intended to have been sent by the 
Lively, then under despatch for Europe ; but, by 
some cause, her departure was delayed, and with 
her the transmission of the letter also, as will be 
seen by a subsequent communication from Mr. 
Hastings, on learning the proceedings that had 
taken place in Parliament. 

The fleets of France and England, the former madeas. 
under M. Suffrein, had various skirmishes off the 
coast of Coromandel. In the month of February 
1782, a French fleet of twelve sail of the line, 


* The Directors, in a letter of the 15th January 1783, stated 
that they were precluded by the Act of Parliament from ap- 
propriating the ten lacs as suggested in Mr. Hastings' letter of 
January 1782. 



1782-83. with frigates and transports, appeared off Pulli- 
madras. cat Qn the gth Sir ^ward Hughes arrived at 

Naval engage- ° 

ment off Trin- Madras from Trincomalee, with the Superb. Exe- 
ter, Monarch, Bedford, Worcester, Eagle, and the 
Sea-horse frigate. On the 10th he was joined by 
Commodore Alms with three ships of the line, 
and one transport containing General Meadows 
and Colonel Fullarton, with four hundred King's 
troops. On the 15th the French fleet appeared off 
Madras, and on the 16th stood to the southward. 
The English admiral weighed, and followed the 
enemy till they were separated from their frigates 
and transports. Sir Edward Hughes made the 
signal for chasing the latter, in which the Isis 
being the foremost, came up with and re-took the 
Lauriston, a large transport laden with military 
stores and three hundred troops, together with 
several English vessels with grain, which had 
been captured by the enemy on the coast. The 
enemy's fleet bore down, and having the advan- 
tage of the wind, brought eight of their ships 
to engage five of the English, the other ships on 
either side not being able to get into action. The 
engagement lasted from four until half-past six, 
when the French ceased firing, and hauled their 
wind. The Superb and Exeter were much da- 
maged, having many shot between wind and 
water. Sir Edward Hughes went to Trincomalee 
to refit, and returned to Madras on the 10th March 
to renew the attack on the enemy, whose ships had 



been dispersed during the action. Their hospital 1782-83. 
ship, the Due de Toscanne, having come to anchor Bengal - 
in the roads of Negapatam, in the belief that it 
was a friendly port, was captured by the Chapman 

On the 8th April, Sir Edward Hughes came 
again in sight of the French squadron, then con- 
sisting of eighteen sail. On the 12th, the French, 
having the wind, engaged him ; the action com- 
menced at half-past one p.m., and ended at forty 
minutes past six. Both fleets anchored within 
five miles of each other until the 19th. In the 
interval, Sir Edward Hughes had refitted all his 
fleet, with the exception of the Monmouth, which 
had lost her main and mizen-masts, their places 
being supplied with good jury-masts. The enemy 
made a shew of renewing the engagement ; Sir 
E. Hughes waited, with springs on his cables, but 
the enemy, after approaching within two miles, 
stood out to sea, and was seen no more. Sir E. 
Hughes' force consisted of twelve ships, in which 
there were 247 killed, and 320 wounded. The 
number in the French ship Hero, the flag-ship, 
killed and wounded, was 200; the admiral being 
obliged to shift his flag from her to the Ajax\ 

On the Malabar coast, the blockade of Telli- Malabar 
cherry by Hyder's troops was raised by the arrival H der °^' the 
of a force under Major Abingdon from Bombay. French. 
After a severe action, Hyder's army under Sudass 


Hyder defeated 


1782. Cawn was defeated, the whole of his treasure and 
the materiel of his army falling into possession 
of the British, and a communication opened on 
either side of Tellicherry, the country being 
cleared of the enemy. This check to Hyder on 
the coast of Malabar was met by the defeat of 
the detachment under Colonel Braithwaite, on 
the borders of the kingdom of Tanjore, by Tippoo 
Saib ; on which occasion the interference of M. 
Lally saved the force from annihilation : many of 
the captives, however, suffered a long imprisonment 
at Seringapatam. 

A detachment of French troops having been 
landed at Pondicherry in March 1782, they were 
joined by a body of Hyder's forces. In the month 
of April, M. Du Chemin, the commanding officer 
of the French forces at Porto Novo, appeared be- 
fore Cuddalore, which surrendered to him, the 
inhabitants having no means of defence. The 
prisoners were exchanged against an equal num- 
ber of French. As this was an act wholly inde- 
pendent of any communication with Hyder, M. 
Du Chemin desired to become possessed of 
Cuddalore in right of his own nation ; under- 
standing that he was also to be put in immediate 
possession of Chillembrum, one of the French 
officers demanded the surrender of the keys from 
the sepoy guard, who refused to deliver them up 
without orders from his commanding officer; upon 
which the Frenchman struck the sepoy with his 



sword. The matter being reported to Hyder, he 1782. 
answered, " Turn the French and their stores out Bengal - 
from Chillembrum." In consequence of which 
order, they were not only obliged to quit the fort, 
but for want of bullocks were constrained to drag 
their artillery back to Porto Novo !* Permacoil 
was besieged and taken in May by Hyder, and 
an attack meditated, on Wandewash. The latter 
was however prevented by the advance of Sir 
Eyre Coote, who discovered the enemy's encamp- 
ment about twenty miles on the road from Per- 
macoil, the French having joined it that morning. 
Whilst the force under Sir E. Coote was marking 
out the camp at Arnee, Hyder suddenly appeared. 
An engagement ensued on the 2d June ; the 
enemy were repulsed, and Sir Eyre Coote returned 
to the presidency, it being the last occasion on 
which he was opposed to Hyder. 

Peace was concluded with the Mahrattas by the Bombay. 
treaty of Salbey, the 17th May 1782, through T^tyofSai- 
the mediation of Madajee Scindia.f Ragobah, 
to whom was to be attributed the lengthened hos- 
tilities in which the two powers had been en- 
gaged, had a fixed allowance secured to him of 
25,000 rupees per month. The forts and districts 
of Billapore and Callian, the autgoms adjoining 
Salsette, the fort and island of Bassein and its 


* Letter from Bengal, May 1782. 
f Fide Printed Treaties, page 99. 


J 782. dependencies, and the valuable districts in the 
B BoMBAt. ND Guzerat country annexed to the chiefships of 
Surat and Broach, were formally surrendered to 
the Poonah government and Futty Sing Guico- 
war. The city and pergunnah of Broach being 
put in the possession of Madajee Scindia, con- 
formably with the grant from the Governor-gene- 
ral in Council, who observed that his conduct in 
the negociation, as well as his claim founded on 
the treaty of Worgaum, recommended the ces- 
sion. They considered that it would effect the 
important object of attaching so distinguished a 
chief to the Company's interests. They were 
also of opinion that the possession of Broach was 
no advantage to the Company, whatever it might 
be in the estimation of the Council at Bombay. 
The expenses of the establishment were nearly 
equal to its revenues ; future troubles would arise 
about the boundaries, and the price of cotton, the 
staple of the district, rose in Bombay with our 
possession of the place. " The natural conse- 
quences of a commercial place possessed by men 
who are dealers in the specific article of trade 
which it produces."* 
froT e Bomba 0n The Bomba Y Council, as anticipated by the 
Supreme Government, observed in their des- 
patches to the Court of Directors, that "the 
whole of your possessions to the westward are 
now reduced to the castle and dependent reve- 
* Letter from Bengal, 15th July 1782. 


nues of Surat, as held since the first acquisition 1782. 
of them in 1759. A powerful and dangerous Bengal - 
neighbour is now placed close to this remaining 
possession, which it will be necessary to guard 
with a watchful eye ; but it will be equally una- 
vailing and mortifying to expatiate on this sub- 
ject, or the value of the countries you have lost 
by this treaty. We shall rejoice should we have 
future occasion to enumerate the benefits result- 
ing from it. This presidency must, from hence- 
forward, require from the Bengal treasury a large 
and annual supply of money for the indispensable 
occasions of the Company's concerns under our 

After adverting to the heavy charges incurred 
on account of increased establishment, they re- 
marked : "In forming the new arrangements 
for this presidency, it will be a question well 
worthy of serious consideration, whether an ex- 
traordinary military force, kept up at Bombay, 
will not conduce, in a greater degree, to ensure 
the peace of India and the general safety of the 
Honourable Company's possessions, than a much 
larger force maintained in any other quarter ; 
and whether an increase of force at Bombay 
will not permit of a proportional decrease in 
the establishments and military expenses at 
the other presidencies. This is a question of 
general, not of partial concern, and of the 
highest importance to the Honourable Company's 




[Chap. XI. 



welfare. According to the ideas we have formed 
upon the subject, the Company's means should 
be employed in such a manner as may best con- 
tribute to the defence of their estate, without too 
nice distinctions whether the money is expended 
at Bengal, Madras, or Bombay." 

By the treaty of Salbey the Paishwa bound 
himself, for the whole of the Mahrattas, not to 
suffer other European nations to establish facto- 
ries in their dominions. Nana Furnavese, the 
Paishwa's prime minister, and Madajee Scindia, 
were the two great parties who now governed the 
Mahratta empire. 


Bengal and 

Effort to free 
the Carnatie. 

Every effort was now to be made to free the 
Carnatie from the forces of Hyder. At this im- 
portant juncture, serious differences arose between 
Lord Macartney and Sir Eyre Coote. The latter 
appealed to the Supreme Government against the 
acts of the Council at Madras ; he desired to be 
left to the free and uncontrolled exercise of his 
own judgment in following out the military 
operations which he deemed best calculated to 
effect the great end in view, he sent his Persian 
interpreter to Bengal for the purpose of giving 
a full explanation on all points of difference. 
Lord Macartney likewise deputed his private se- 
cretary to counteract the effects that might be 
produced by the mission of Mr. Graham. As the 
Supreme Government felt that their decision must 



be condemnatory of one of the parties, they de- 1782-83. 
termined to abstain from entering into the merits Bekgal * 
of the question, a course which Lord Macartney 
described to be prejudging the matter. 

As the Council in Bengal considered the Car- 
natic to be in a state of actual invasion, they felt 
that every deference should be paid to the zeal, 
exertion, and circumspection of Sir Eyre Coote, 
who, in despite of a most severe illness, had perse- 
vered in the discharge of the most arduous duties, 
and had attached to him the army, who reposed 
implicit confidence in him. Under these circum- 
stances, the Supreme Council felt that his wishes 
should be gratified to the fullest extent. They 
accordingly directed the Madras Government to 
concede to him the entire and unparticipated 
command of all the forces under their presi- 
dency, with the exception of the garrison of Fort 
St. George. They enforced the recommendation 
by placing all the Bengal troops on foreign ser- 
vice under his control, observing, "that every go- 
vernment must of course possess an ultimate and 
overruling authority ; and the right of exercising 
such authority, which is inherent in it, must be 
also invariable and perpetuate, notwithstanding 
any restrictions which it may impose upon itself 
for particular purposes." They then offered 
various suggestions as to supplies and moving the 



* Letter from Bengal, November 1782, 
VOL. I. 2 S 


1782-83. The President and Select Committee at Madras 

Bengal. intimated that they should pay implicit obedience 
to the orders of the Supreme Government, and 
apprised Sir Eyre Coote that they had invested 
him with " all the powers, authorities, and respon- 
sibilities derived from Bengal." Bitter and acri- 
monious feelings arose between them and the 
Commander-in-chief. They remarked to the Su- 
preme Council, that the ancient constitutional 
system of the government of Madras had been 
subverted by the power delegated to Sir Eyre 
Coote. The general was shortly afterwards con- 
strained, on account of his health, to embark for 

In the month of December 1782, Mr. Hastings, 
ignorant of the proceedings of the Court of Pro- 
prietors regarding him, addressed the Directors 
with reference to the parliamentary inquiry. He 
adverted to the letter which had been written by 
him in May, but not forwarded to England.* He 
accordingly transmitted it, accompanied by an 
affidavit of Mr. Larkins, the accountant-general, 
to the effect, that the letter in question had 
been sealed in that month, and delivered for 
transmission to the Court. " The despatch having 
been protracted, I send the affidavit, and feel 
that the parliamentary inquiry has placed me in 
an unfortunate position, because it exposes me 
to the incorrect imputations from the occasion 


* Vide page 617. 


that enquiry ha